Norway ‘Seriously’ Mulls Hosting Destruction of Syrian Warfare Chemicals

None

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 23, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

Nor­way’s top dip­lo­mat on Wed­nes­day said his coun­try is “very ser­i­ously” re­view­ing calls to host the elim­in­a­tion of chem­ic­al-arms in­gredi­ents from war-torn Syr­ia, but sug­ges­ted leg­al and tech­nic­al hurdles could com­plic­ate pos­sible as­sist­ance, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

Nor­way lacks ex­per­i­ence in des­troy­ing such ma­ter­i­als, and do­mest­ic laws would re­quire oth­er European coun­tries to take fi­nal cus­tody of by-products from the pro­cess, Nor­we­gi­an For­eign Min­is­ter Bo­erge Brende told re­port­ers. He ad­ded it could prove dif­fi­cult to pre­vent wa­ter from freez­ing in any de­struc­tion ef­fort hos­ted by the Nor­d­ic coun­try.

The United Na­tions re­portedly asked Nor­way to ac­cept as much as 50 per­cent of Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al-war­fare stock­pile, which totals more than 1,000 tons and con­tains pre­curs­ors for deadly nerve and blister agents. Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing the ma­ter­i­als and agreed to their elim­in­a­tion last month, weeks after a nerve-gas strike in rebel-held ter­rit­ory pushed the United States to the brink of po­ten­tial mil­it­ary ac­tion against his re­gime.

The United States could provide chem­ic­al-de­struc­tion equip­ment to Nor­way, which is do­mest­ic­ally stable and con­tains sparsely pop­u­lated areas suited for de­struc­tion activ­it­ies, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters. Oslo has not iden­ti­fied any po­ten­tial do­mest­ic loc­a­tion for a pos­sible de­struc­tion ef­fort, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted on Tues­day.

The Nor­we­gi­an broad­caster NRK cited an in­tern­al U.N. re­cord nam­ing sev­en oth­er coun­tries — Al­bania, Bel­gi­um and the five re­cog­nized nuc­le­ar powers — asked to sup­port the chem­ic­al-dis­arm­a­ment pro­cess, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

Mem­bers of the 28-na­tion NATO al­li­ance likely would “re­spond pos­it­ively if the U.N. ac­tu­ally for­wards a re­quest,” NATO Sec­ret­ary Gen­er­al An­ders Fogh Rasmussen said, ac­cord­ing to a Wed­neseday re­port from Deutsche Presse-Agen­tur.

He ad­ded it is “pre­ma­ture” to de­term­ine wheth­er coun­tries would act alone or in co­oper­a­tion to provide sup­port.

Dozens of in­ter­na­tion­al per­son­nel have been in Syr­ia for weeks, con­firm­ing chem­ic­al-arms in­vent­or­ies provided by As­sad’s re­gime and over­see­ing the de­struc­tion of empty mu­ni­tions and mix­ing equip­ment. The United Na­tions and the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons are man­aging the closely watched dis­arm­a­ment mis­sion, which aims to elim­in­ate the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s en­tire chem­ic­al ar­sen­al by the first half of next year.

The dis­arm­a­ment crews as of Tues­day had traveled to 18 of 23 chem­ic­al-arms sites dis­closed to date, OP­CW spokes­man Mi­chael Luhan told re­port­ers on Wed­nes­day. Dam­as­cus ap­peared set with­in one day to file a more com­plete “ini­tial de­clar­a­tion” of its chem­ic­al-war­fare in­vent­ory, as well as a “gen­er­al plan of de­struc­tion,” Luhan ad­ded.

Mean­while, U.N. en­voy for Syr­ia Lakh­dar Brahimi is slated on Nov. 5 to con­fer with Rus­si­an and U.S. del­eg­ates in sup­port of a par­al­lel ef­fort to lay the ground­work for pos­sible ne­go­ti­ations on end­ing Syr­ia’s civil war, Re­u­ters re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day. The news agency cited an un­named U.S. gov­ern­ment in­sider who named the date.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×