Syria has met Sunday’s deadline for submitting a formal declaration of its chemical weapons programme, which includes a plan for its arsenal’s abolition, the international chemical weapons watchdog said.
“The document from Syria includes a general plan of destruction for consideration by the OPCW Executive Council,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons (OPCW) said on Sunday.
The inspectors for The Hague-based group arrived in Damascus October 1 to begin work on verifying Syria’s chemical weapons production and storage sites and supervising their destruction in a joint mission with the United Nations.
The UN Security Council in September passed a resolution to eliminate Syria’s chemical stockpile by mid-2014.
On the diplomatic front, the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, brought his campaign to rally international support behind a second peace conference for the war-torn country to Iran, the main ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Iranian President Hassan Rowhani warned that divisions among both Syria’s neighbours and the West about the country’s future were prolonging the conflict.
Only democratic elections in which both the government and opposition could participate would solve the crisis there, Mr. Rowhani told Mr. Brahimi, according to Iran’s presidential office.
“Iran is prepared in the framework of a new peace conference in Geneva to do everything possible to bring about an end to the violence and return peace to Syria,” Mr. Rowhani was quoted as saying.
He said as part of that pledge, Iran plans to hold talks with Turkey, who, unlike Iran, supports the rebels trying to overthrow Mr. al-Assad.
His meeting with Mr. Brahimi came a day after he had campaigned for Iran to be invited to the Geneva meeting, calling its participation “necessary.” It would be controversial, however, given Iran’s support of Mr. al-Assad and the Syrian opposition’s contention that Tehran would be no honest mediator.
Mr. Brahimi has been trying to press members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition to take part in the Geneva conference aimed at ending the 31-month conflict, which has killed more than 100,000 people by UN estimates.
No date has been set for the conference, but the Arab League has said it might be held November 23-24.