Russia may give $2 million to UN chemical watchdog for Syrian mission
Reuters reported Wednesday that Russia may donate $2 million to the UN chemical watchdog mission responsible for eliminating Syria's chemical weapons and is ready to offer expert help as well.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) announced earlier this month that its funding for its Syria mission will run out by the end of the month. It has already raised 10 million euros ($13.5 million), but needs more funds to destroy more than 1,000 tons of chemical weapons within the designated timeline formulated under the brokered US-Russian deal from earlier this year. Russia's tentative contribution is thus critical.
Russia's state agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov saying that "Russia, in principle, is ready to offer technical assistance, experts and perhaps financial assistance. This issue is being discussed, but the amount is somewhere around $2 million."
Experts project that OPCW will need tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to complete its mission, while Syrian president Bashar al-Assad estimates the cost to be $1 billion. The United States has been the biggest donor for the Syria mission providing $6 million in equipment, training and cash to the OPCW and the UN. Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have also contributed significantly to the mission.