Albania Rejects Request to Host Syrian Chemical-Arms Destruction

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 15, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

Al­bania an­nounced on Fri­day it would not al­low Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons to be des­troyed on its soil, deal­ing a set­back to the dis­arm­a­ment ef­fort the same day an in­ter­na­tion­al body weighed a de­struc­tion plan for the mu­ni­tions, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

Al­bani­an Prime Min­is­ter Edi Rama an­nounced in a tele­vised ad­dress that he denied the U.S. re­quest to host de­struc­tion of the Syr­i­an arms, which angry pro­test­ers de­cried in re­cent days in his coun­try’s cap­it­al.

“We lack the ne­ces­sary ca­pa­cit­ies to get in­volved in this op­er­a­tion,” said Rama, who as­sumed his post two months ago.

The Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons’ Ex­ec­ut­ive Coun­cil had planned to ap­prove on Fri­day a chem­ic­al-weapons de­struc­tion plan craf­ted by Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s re­gime. However, the 41-mem­ber coun­cil ad­journed its meet­ing in The Hag­ue dur­ing the day as it waited to hear wheth­er Al­bani­an would host the de­struc­tion work. As of press time, the chem­ic­al-weapons coun­cil still was ex­pec­ted to make a de­cision later in the day.

An OP­CW source told Re­u­ters on Fri­day that there “will be no host coun­try in the de­cision this af­ter­noon.”

As­sad agreed in Septem­ber to elim­in­ate his roughly 1,300 met­ric tons of sar­in nerve agent and mus­tard gas fol­low­ing in­ter­na­tion­al con­dem­na­tion of an Aug. 21 chem­ic­al-arms at­tack on cit­izens dur­ing the na­tion’s bloody civil war.

The OP­CW Ex­ec­ut­ive Coun­cil re­portedly was re­view­ing a draft de­struc­tion plan on Fri­day that calls for most chem­ic­al ma­ter­i­als to be ex­trac­ted from Syr­ia by the end of the year and des­troyed else­where.

Al­bania joins Nor­way in deny­ing re­quests to be­come the site of de­struc­tion activ­it­ies. Bel­gi­um and France also have been cited as pos­sible hosts.

Na­tions are help­ing the OP­CW-U.N. chem­ic­al-weapons ef­fort in var­ied ways. Nor­way on Thursday said it would send troops and ships to Syr­ia, des­pite re­ject­ing the role of host for the chem­ic­al stocks. Den­mark and Rus­sia have con­sidered of­fer­ing sim­il­ar as­sist­ance. Coun­tries in­clud­ing the United States, Canada, Ger­many, the Neth­er­lands and Switzer­land also have con­trib­uted money for the dis­arm­a­ment work, which As­sad said could cost $1 bil­lion.

What We're Following See More »
Peña Nieto, Trump Trade Subtle Jabs in Statements
1 hours ago

Following their meeting, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, briefly addressed the media, with Peña Nieto subtly rebuking Trump's rhetoric. While he spoke respectfully about Trump, Peña Nieto did not back down, saying that free trade has proved effective and that illegal immigration into America from the south has decreased over the last ten years while the flow of people and drugs into Mexico has increased. Additionally, he stressed that Mexicans in America are "honest" and "deserve respect." Trump responded, calling some Mexicans "tremendous people" while saying others are "beyond reproach." Trump laid out five important issues, including the end of illegal immigration and the ability for either country to build a wall or border. However, Trump said he did not discuss who would pay for the wall.

SCOTUS Won’t Restore NC Voter ID Law
1 hours ago

A divided Supreme Court "refused Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification requirement and keep just 10 days of early in-person voting. The court rejected a request by Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials to delay a lower court ruling that found the state law was tainted by racial discrimination."

Court: 2nd Amendment Doesn’t Protect Pot Users’ Gun Rights
2 hours ago
Woman Self-Immolates in Congressman’s Office
4 hours ago

"Police say a woman walked into U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' office on Chicago's West Side, drank out of a bottle of hand sanitizer, poured the sanitizer over herself and set herself on fire with a lighter." The Democrat wasn't in the office at the time.

White House Grants $53 Million for Opioids
6 hours ago

"The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday awarded 44 states, four tribes and the District of Columbia a combined $53 million in grants to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders and ultimately aimed at reducing the number of opioid-related deaths." But HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and drug czar Michael Botticelli both called on Congress to approve the $1.1 billion Obama has requested to fight the opioid crisis.