'US, Russia ask Norway to help destroy Syria's chemical weapons'

Norway's political stability and water make the Scandinavian country viable for task of destroying weapons from Syria's civil war.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 5, 2013 17:57
1 minute read.
A UN chemical weapons expert, inspects the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

UN chemical weapons inspectors in Syria 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The US and Russia have requested Norway to help alongside UN efforts to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, AFP cited a Norwegian new site as reporting on Saturday.

According to Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Washington and Moscow both consider the Scandinavian country a suitable location for the dangerous task of destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

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The two countries have reportedly pointed to Norway's political stability and its possession of large amounts of water, which is vital for dismantling the toxic weapons, as key components to the country's viability for the request, according to NRK.

The request for Norweigin assistance in the task came last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and has been repeated on several levels, NRK reported.

Norway's foreign ministry had not immediately confirmed specifications of the report, but said the nation was prepared to assist, AFP reported.

“I can confirm that Norway is looking into implementing the resolution of the UN Security Council,” ministry spokeswoman Ragnhild Imerslund told AFP.

“Exactly how it will be done is too early to say. We don’t know what contribution we are going to make, but we are looking into various options,” she added.

Norway has until mid-November to reply to the reported request, NRK said.

According to NRK, Norway does not currently have the necessary equipment for destroying such weapons of mass destruction, but the US may provide mobile facilities to assist with its implementation.

On Thursday, the United Nations said the chemical experts have made "encouraging initial progress" and hoped to begin disabling equipment involved in Syria's chemical weapon process next week.

Oppositions forces and the Syrian government blame each other for the deadly August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb. The United States and other Western countries say a report by UN investigators indirectly implicates government-allied forces.

Crisis in Syria - full JPost.com coverage

Ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock, the United States and Russia agreed in September on a UN Security Council draft resolution that would demand Syria give up its chemical arms, but does not threaten military force if it fails to comply.

Under the US-Russian deal, Assad must see the country's chemical weapons destroyed by the middle of 2014.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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