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US chides Syria on missed chemical arms deadlines

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Angered over a missed deadline in Syria’s pledge to export its chemical weapons, the United States criticized the government of President Bashar Assad on Thursday, accusing him of stalling their removal and — in a new complaint — weakening the country’s promise to destroy the 12 facilities that produced them.

The criticisms, expressed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the US ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague-based group helping oversee the elimination of the Syrian arsenal, contrasted with the diplomatic decorum that had prevailed since the operation began more than three months ago. Until January, after the first deadline was missed, the Syrian government had been widely praised for its cooperation.

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