OPCW: US offers to destroy Syria's chemicals at sea

Chemical weapons prohibition organization says Assad's chemical arsenal will be destroyed on US ship by December 31; 35 firms expressed interest in unloading of 800 tons of industrial chemicals

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced Saturday that the United States has offered to help destroy some of the most lethal parts of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.


The organization's Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said in a statement Saturday the US government has offered to contribute "a destruction technology, full operational support and financing to neutralize" the weapons offshore, most likely on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The operation is to be completed with Syrian assistance by Dec. 31.


Related stories:


The OPCW also wants nearly 800 tons of chemicals, many of which are industrial chemicals regularly destroyed at civilian facilities all over the world, to be destroyed by private companies as part of the organization's ambitious plan to completely eradicate Syria's chemical weapons program by mid-2014.


UN inspectors disarming chemical stockpiles in Syria (Photo: EPA) (Photo: EPA)
UN inspectors disarming chemical stockpiles in Syria (Photo: EPA)

The OPCW also said it had received expressions of interest from 35 firms to destroy Syria's chemicals stockpile.


Last week it was reported on the New York Times that Washington is expressing concern that the plan to disarm Syria of chemical weapons may fall through due to the ongoing civil war in the country and the loading of dismantled weapons onto ships. Currently, military units loyal to President Bashar Assad are the ones securing and accompanying the chemical weapons stocks, which Syria must destroy.


US intelligence and Pentagon officials said that these stockpiles are exposed to attacks by the rebels while traveling in areas in which the war has been raging for over two and a half years.


The Assad regime has committed to withdraw the hazardous materials from the country by December 31 and all other toxic substances by February 5 2014. This month Albania turned down the US proposal to destroy Syria's chemical weapons in its territory. Norway has declined the same request in the past.


AP and Reuters contributed to this report



  • Receive Ynetnews updates directly to your desktop


פרסום ראשון: 11.30.13, 13:30
 new comment
This will delete your current comment