THE HAGUE - The head of the organization overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile said he still hoped Damascus could meet a final deadline of June 30 but it might miss that target.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's government agreed to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by mid-year as part of a US-Russian agreement negotiated after a chemical attack last August that killed hundreds of people around Damascus.

It has handed over roughly half of its stockpile to a joint mission with the United Nations but is several weeks behind schedule, blaming security problems for the delays.

"I think that some targets have not been met, but the deadline of 30 June still remains our target, and we think we can finish the destruction by that time, or close to that time," Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said.

An official at the OPCW, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said Uzumcu meant the process could run past the June 30 deadline Damascus had agreed to. This was the first official indication it might not be met.

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