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Cabinet approves support base for Syria chemical weapon inspectors

The cabinet has approved the establishment of a support base for a UN–OPCW mission to Syria as well as the provision of facilities for the mission’s safety and operations in the island, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides announced on Friday.

The Security Council formally approved a first-ever joint United Nations mission with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW to oversee the destruction of Syria’s stockpiles and production facilities in resolution 2118.

In a written statement, Stylianides said the UN decision to establish a support base of the mission in Cyprus shows not only the upgraded and stabilizing role of the country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East but also enhances the Republic’s status on an international level.

UN SG Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed the Dutch envoy Sigrid Kaag, a veteran from the U.N. Development Program, to serve as the envoy of the joint mission.

In a letter to the Security Council he recommended the establishment of a joint mission of the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the destruction of the chemical weapons in Syria within an extensive period of time.

In his letter Ban noted that this joint mission will conduct an operation that has never been tried again and since the situation in Syria remains unsure, the joint mission based in Cyprus will deploy on the Syrian territory only the necessary number of experts each time.

The joint mission will be based on the original team that has already been developed in Syria and will go up to 100 members from the staff of the United Nations and the OPCW.

He also thanked the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

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