U.N. told Syria must accelerate chemical arms shipments: envoy

UNITED NATIONS Thu Feb 6, 2014 10:55am EST

A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah

A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Abdullah

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The head of the international chemical weapons mission in Syria told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that the deadline looming for the elimination of the government's toxic arsenal with accelerated cooperation is vital, a diplomat said.

The remarks came from Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that is overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical arsenal.

"With deadline on the horizon, it is essential that Syria accelerates" shipments of toxic chemicals out of the country, Kaag told a closed-door briefing of the 15-nation Security Council, a diplomat attending told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "Time for action is now."

(This story has been refiled to restore dropped word "with" in first paragraph.)

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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