Syria can meet June 30 chemical weapons deadline: U.N. chief

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 06, 2014 1:59 AM

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he was confident Syria would meet a June 30 deadline to eliminate its entire chemical weapons program under a US-Russian plan.

Syria has missed the deadline to hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons by February 5, prompting fears it could fail to fulfill the plan which helped avert a U.S.-led missile strike against President Bashar al-Assad's government.

"About these chemical weapons, I believe the process has been moving on rather smoothly even though there have been some delays," Ban told reporters after addressing a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in the Russian city of Sochi.

"Our target is June 30 this year. This may be a very tight target, but I believe that it can be done with the full support of the Syrian government," said Ban, who will attend the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Friday.

(Writing by Thomas Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage)