Syria says it joined chemical treaty on Thursday

MOSCOW, Russia

Bashar Ja'afari told reporters he presented Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with "the instrument of accession" to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

He said President Bashar Assad signed a legislative decree earlier Thursday declaring Syria's approval to join the treaty, which requires destruction of all chemical weapons.

U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said "the secretary-general welcomes this development, noting that, as depository of the convention, he has long called for universal accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention."

"Given recent events, he hopes that the current talks in Geneva will lead to speedy agreement on a way forward which will be endorsed and assisted by the international community," Haq said.

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