UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. secretary-general recommended Monday that about 100 people from the United Nations and the world's chemical weapons watchdog be part of a mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.
Ban Ki Moon proposed in a letter to the U.N. Security Council obtained by the Associated Press that a joint mission be established with the United Nations providing logistics, communications and coordination with the Syrian government and rebel groups, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons conducting technical consultations, verification and inspections.
Given the "dangerous and volatile" environment in Syria, Ban said, "the joint mission will establish a 'light footprint' in Syria."
The 11-page letter was a response to the resolution adopted unanimously by the Security Council on Sept. 27 ordering Syria's chemical weapons stockpile to be secured and destroyed and asking the U.N. chief to submit recommendations within 10 days on the U.N. role.
Four days after its passage, Ban said, a joint advance team of 19 personnel from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and 16 U.N. personnel arrived in Damascus.
On Sunday, under the supervision of OPCW experts supported by the United Nations, Syrian personnel began to destroy the country's chemical weapons, using "cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of materials, including missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment," Ban said.