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 »
FIRST TIME SINCE COLD WAR
Nuclear Bombers Preparing to Go Back on 24-Hour Alert
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991...Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, President Trump’s confrontational approach to Pyongyang, and Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces."

Source:
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
2 days ago
THE LATEST
AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED CONSIDERATION
Senate Rejects Effort to Nix SALT Tax Changes
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."

Source:
INTERVIEWED BY COMMITTEE STAFF
Lewandowski Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."

Source:
FISHING EXPEDITION
Some Members Seek to Wrap Up Russia Investigations by Year’s End
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login