US President Barack Obama has thanked Russia for its assistance in neutralizing Syria’s stockpile of deadly chemical weapons, following the Pentagon’s statement that the operation to destroy the chemicals had been successfully completed aboard US ship Cape Ray.
US President Obama said that his administration was grateful to the joint mission of the United States and its Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that helped to “rid the Syrian regime of its chemical weapons” in a White House statement, published on Monday.
“We also thank our close allies and partners – Denmark, Norway, Italy, Finland, Germany, and the United Kingdom – for their key contributions to this mission, and we appreciate the assistance of Russia and China,” Barack Obama said in the statement.
The US president underscored the chemicals had been liquidated “several weeks ahead of schedule.” He also promised to “watch closely” that Syria fulfilled its commitment to destroy the remaining declared chemical weapons production facilities.
Earlier on Monday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel congratulated the crew of the Cape Ray for completing the work of neutralizing the most dangerous chemicals in Syria’s stockpile, according to the Pentagon.
On August 12, the DoD released a statement saying it had neutralized the entire stockpile of deadly sarin gas, shipped out of Syria, destroying “all 581 metric tons of a precursor chemical for sarin gas.”
After a deadly chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb in August 2011, Russia made a proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal that was later supported by the United States. Following the deal, Syria agreed to hand over its estimated 1,000-metric-ton arsenal to international control and joined the UN Chemical Weapons Convention.