Yesterday (7 August) marked the completion of incineration at Ellesmere Port of around 190 tonnes of Syrian chemical material, intended for use by the Assad regime to manufacture nerve agent.
As previously announced, the UK agreed to destroy approximately 15 percent of the total declared Syrian chemical stockpile in commercial facilities.
The entire stockpile of one category of chemicals, known as “B precursors”, along with a smaller volume of hydrochloric acid also from the Syrian chemical weapons programme, arrived in Britain three weeks ago.
The chemicals were then transferred to the High Temperature Incinerator operated by Veolia at Ellesmere Port, where they have been destroyed, under the verification procedures of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), ending the company’s involvement in this task.
Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood – “By destroying these chemicals, the United Kingdom has played its part in the international effort to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons can never again be used against the Syrian people”
Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, said: “By destroying these chemicals, the United Kingdom has played its part in the international effort to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons can never again be used against the Syrian people.
“The removal, and now the destruction in four countries, of the declared Syrian chemical stockpile show what can be achieved when the international community, including Russia, agrees to work together for the common good.
“The challenge remains to bring that same unity to bear in securing a political settlement to end this appalling conflict. Such a settlement is all the more urgent as the conflict continues to claim hundreds of lives each month, despite the efforts of the moderate opposition to protect the Syrian people from both Assad and extremists.
“Completing destruction of the declared stockpile does not mark the closure of the chemical weapons chapter. Gaps and inconsistencies in Syria’s declaration need to be resolved. There continue to be credible reports of attacks using industrial chemicals such as chlorine. The OPCW Fact Finding Mission’s interim conclusions stated that the available information lent credence to the view that these attacks were being systematically orchestrated. The Mission must leave no stone unturned in its investigation, and the perpetrators of such barbaric acts must be held accountable.”
The work at Ellesmere Port is part of international efforts involving destruction facilities in the USA, Finland and Germany and with support from many other states and the OPCW. The destruction by neutralisation of a smaller volume of hydrogen fluoride will take place towards the end of the year. This will complete the UK’s role in destruction activities.