- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch diplomat leading an international mission to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program says the pace of removing chemicals from the civil war-torn country is picking up and an end-of-June deadline for total destruction of the program is still achievable.

In an interview with The Associated Press at the headquarters of the international watchdog overseeing the unprecedented mission, Sigrid Kaag said Tuesday Syria has agreed a 60-day timetable “to accelerate and intensify their efforts to ensure timely removal” of chemicals that will be destroyed outside the country.

Kaag says that “as of today, nearly one third of Syria’s chemical weapons material has been removed or destroyed inside the country.”

Syria had been criticized in recent weeks for the slow pace of removing chemicals.