OPCW: Syrian chemical arsenal could be destroyed at sea

Chemical watchdog reviews option for disposing toxic agents in event that no country agrees to process on its soil.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 20, 2013 22:11
1 minute read.
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[illustrative photo] Ship at sea 311 (R). (photo credit: Andreas Manolis / Reuters)

 
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The world's chemical watchdog said on Wednesday Syria's arsenal of over 1,000 tons of chemical weapons could be disposed of at sea, in the event that no country agrees to destroy them on its soil, AFP reported.

"This possibility has been looked at for some time already," the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told AFP.

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"It’s still being looked at and is one of several solutions envisaged by member states and as long as a decision has not been taken, it remains a possibility," OPCW spokesman Christian Chartier said.

He stressed that the possibility of destroying the Syrian chemical stockpile on land was still a relevant option.

"This possibility doesn't exclude the fact that member states continue to think about the possibility of destroying them on land," Chartier told AFP.

Last Friday, Albania rejected a US request to host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, dealing a blow to a US-Russian accord to eliminate the nerve agents from the country's protracted civil war.

Albania, facing protests at home from groups complaining the Adriatic country and NATO member was being exploited by the West, said last week it was impossible to get involved in the operation. The plan seeks to destroy about 1,300 tons of Syria's sarin, mustard gas and other agents.



Faced with the threat of US missile strikes, Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed in September to give up his country's chemicals weapons stockpile following a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of people outside the capital Damascus.

A plan adopted by the OPCW in The Hague on Friday called for the most critical chemicals to be transported out of Syria by Dec. 31 and destroyed between Dec. 15 and March 15. All other declared chemical materials would be eliminated by June 30.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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