Norway ‘Seriously’ Mulls Hosting Destruction of Syrian Warfare Chemicals

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
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 »
TIME TO SPLIT
House Passes CR, Sends Bill to President’s Desk
8 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN’T NAME ONE WORLD LEADER
Gary Johnson Stumbles Again
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
GOES TO PRESIDENT
Senate Approves Bill to Preserve Rape Kits
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation ensuring sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have access to forensic evidence collection kits, sending the bill to President Obama's desk. The legislation, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was passed by unanimous consent as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until after the election. The House passed the measure earlier this month."

Source:
2-MONTH GIG OR 8-YEAR GIG?
Alec Baldwin to Play Trump on ‘SNL’
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS
FOUR-POINT LEAD IN FOUR-WAY RACE
Reuters/Ipsos Shows Clinton Ahead by 6
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

In one of the first polls released since Monday night's debate, a Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 44%-38%. When third-party candidates are thrown into the mix, Clinton's share of the vote drops to 42%, with Gary Johnson picking up 7% and Jill Stein at 2%.

Source:
×