Norway to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal
Norway announced Thursday it would offer support for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal despite refusing to carry out the operation on its soil as requested by the United States, according to AFP.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said Oslo will offer a civilian ship to help transport the weapons to an as yet undecided location for destruction, along with a military frigate to escort any future convoy.
Norway also announced a 90 million krone donation (10.8 million euros, $15 million) to the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to carry out the operation, the ministry added.
“Norway is supporting the work that is being done under the auspices of the UN and the OPCW to destroy Syrian chemical weapons. It is vital that the chemical agents and precursors are destroyed as quickly as possible, to prevent weapons of mass destruction being used to target the people of Syria again. We will therefore assist in the transportation efforts, along with other countries. We will also contribute up to NOK 90 million to cover costs associated with the destruction of these weapons, through the UN and OPCW trust funds,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende said.Norway said on Oct 25 it could not accommodate an American request to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal on its soil, saying the schedule was too tight and that it lacked the expertise required.
The joint Russian-U.S. Syrian chemical weapons disarmament plan was endorsed by the UN Security Council in September.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding the destruction of Syria's entire chemical arsenal, estimated at about 1,000 tons, by June 30 next year.
The resolution was a last-minute measure to prevent U.S. air attacks on Syria in retaliation for the regime's alleged use of the weapons against its own people after a chemical attack against a Damascus suburb in August left hundreds dead.
The OPCW, which is currently inspecting chemical weapons' production and storage sites in Syria, is due to adopt a roadmap for their destruction by Nov 15.