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Short-Term Ceasefire Needed to Accomplish Disarmament, Says UAE Paper
Att.Editors: The following item is from the Emirates News Agency (WAM)

ABU DHABI,Oct 15 (WAM) - A United Arab Emirates (UAE) daily commented that the call from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) should be heeded. The body responsible for destroying chemical weapons in Syria says that fighting is preventing access to the rebel-held areas and the need of the hour is an instant ceasefire.

Ahmet Uzumcu, the OPCW's director-general, in an SOS to all concerned said that short-term ceasefires could help accomplish the task of disarmament, and in the long run further the prospects of peace and stability. His concern over the rebel-held areas on Monday coincided with Damascus officially joining the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The OPCW says that the authorities have cooperated with the disarmament experts, and it has been able to mop up five of the 20 facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.

"But the point is, until and unless the toxic storage sites in the rebel-held areas are cleansed, the job would be half-done. It is here that the international community, especially the West and the Arab League, has a role to play. Convincing the rebels to open up their areas and provide access to the inspectors is essential," said the English language local daily ‘Khaleej Times’ in its editorial on Tuesday.

It has to be acknowledged that the OPCW is working under challenging circumstances, especially in the warzone, and the work is a first of its kind. If the rebel-held zones continue to act as no-go areas for the inspectors then Damascus could also come up with excuses, and the process of destroying toxics hits snags. That shouldn't happen.

The United Nations has to ensure that the rebels are convinced and the process of ridding Syria of toxics is accomplished in time. It may be mentioned that Syria has one of the largest stockpiles in the region.

It added that the political accord reached in Geneva between the United States and Russia is duty-bound to oversee the execution of the disarmament process, and Washington has no choice but to prevail over the Syrian Opposition to get the task accomplished. But signs of defiance from the Opposition and gun-toting rebels paint a dismal picture for the West and its allies in the region.

In a statement, the largest group in Syria's opposition said it will not take part in the proposed peace talks in Geneva next month as the international environment is too supportive of the regime in Damascus. This is like putting the cart before the horse. It's time to kick start a result-oriented dialogue process with an unconditional ceasefire. (WAM) (END/2013)


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