BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS - Syria has agreed a new timetable to remove its chemical weapons by late April after failing to meet a deadline to ship out the arsenal earlier this month, diplomats said on Wednesday.
Under a US-Russian deal reached after a chemical weapons attack killed hundreds of people around Damascus last year, President Assad's government should have handed over 1,300 tonnes of toxic chemicals by Feb. 5 for destruction abroad.
But only three cargoes have been shipped out of the country so far, barely 10 percent of the total stockpile declared to the Organiזation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) overseeing the process along with the United Nations.
Amid growing international frustration at the slow pace of progress, Syria last week submitted a new 100-day plan to remove the remaining chemicals, which would have set a target of late May or early June for completion.
But the OPCW said the work could be done quicker, despite fighting between Assad's forces and rebels seeking his overthrow.
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