Greece wants absolute guarantees that destroying Syria’s warfare chemicals would not endanger the Mediterranean, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
Athens is not alone in its nervousness about the plan for eliminating Damascus chemicals; British citizens also are beginning to voice safety concerns related to their nation’s involvement in the process.
Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos asked EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to demand the guarantees from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The two organizations are overseeing efforts to eliminate the Syrian government’s chemical-warfare stockpile by the end of June.
Emma Bonino, Evangelos’ Italian equivalent, “agreed on the sending of a letter to the director of the OPCW,” the Greek Foreign Ministry added in a statement on Wednesday.
The Syrian chemical arsenal’s deadliest components are being transported through the violence-wracked nation to coastal city of Latakia, where they are to be loaded on Danish and Norwegian transport ships. The chemicals then would travel under international escort to an Italian port, where they would enter the custody of a U.S. vessel equipped to destroy them.
Greece is seeking confirmation that there is “no doubt … as to the security and protection of the Mediterranean environment during the process of the transporting and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.
In earlier discussions with Greenpeace, Oceanica and the World Wildlife Fund, OCPW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü asserted that the destruction effort would not drop any byproducts into the Mediterranean Sea. Representatives of the watchdog groups conveyed that promise to Venizelos on Wednesday, according to the ministry statement.
Meanwhile, petitioners in the United Kingdom have gathered nearly 400 signatures in opposition to the planned elimination of less-dangerous Syrian chemical-arms ingredients at Ellesmere Port, the Liverpool Echo reported.
The president of Syria, Bashar Assad, admitted his government’s possession of chemical weapons and agreed to eliminate them after Damascus was blamed for a nerve-gas strike allegedly resulting in more than 1,400 civilian deaths last August.
What We're Following See More »
The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Airport screening delays have caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000 checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday. A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago stretching beyond two hours."
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."