Syria chemical weapons could be destroyed at sea: OPCW

AFP-JIJI

The more than 1,000 tons of chemical weapons and precursors in Syria could be destroyed at sea if no country agrees to dispose of them on its soil, the world’s chemical watchdog said Wednesday.

“This possibility has been looked at for some time already,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) spokesman Christian Chartier said of destroying the chemicals at sea.

“It’s still being looked at and is one of several solutions envisaged by member states and as long as a decision has not been taken, it remains a possibility,” Chartier said.

The OPCW Executive Council on Nov. 15 approved a final road map for ridding Syria of its arsenal by mid-2014, with a plan on how to destroy them out of the country, on land or at sea, to be approved by Dec. 17.

The world is in agreement about destroying Syria’s chemical weapons as part of a U.S.-Russia deal aimed at heading off strikes on the Damascus regime after deadly chemical attacks in August.

But despite consensus on destroying the chemicals outside war-wracked Syria, no country has yet been found ready to have them destroyed on its soil.

Belgium said Monday that it was not favorable to destroying the chemicals on its soil. Albania also rejected such a possibility on Nov. 15 after a string of protests.

Norway has also ruled out destroying the chemical weapons on its soil but along with Denmark has offered ships to help take the chemicals out of Syria.

France said Tuesday that it was prepared to offer expertise, but denied that it had been approached to destroy the chemicals.