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US neutralizes 60 percent of toxic Syria chemicals

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm •  Published: August 5, 2014

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States informed the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that it has neutralized about 60 percent of Syria's most toxic chemicals.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the current president of the Security Council, said the U.S. made the report after a videoconference briefing by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

He said Kaag reported that a meeting was held in Beirut earlier Tuesday to work out methods to destroy the 12 chemical production facilities that Syria has declared. She said it will take about six months to complete.

Lyall Grant said he reported to the closed council meeting that Britain will complete its destruction of Syrian chemical precursors intended for the production of chemical weapons and hydrochloric acid "in the course of this week."

"So, good progress on the destruction of chemicals outside Syria," he said.

Syria agreed to surrender its chemical arsenal last fall when the U.S. threatened missile strikes in retaliation for a chemical attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus. The attack is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people.

In early July, some 600 metric tons (661 tons) of Syria's most toxic chemicals were transferred onto the U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray in the Italian port of Gioia Tauro. The ship moved into international waters and began the two-month process of destroying the chemicals.

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