US volunteers to destroy Syrian chemical weapons at sea

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Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations, overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical stockpiles and production facilities, gives a press conference in Damascus on November 30, 2013. "(Photo: AFP - Louai Beshara)

Published Saturday, November 30, 2013

The United States has offered to destroy Syrian chemicals on a US ship, the global chemical weapons watchdog said on Saturday, and is looking for a suitable Mediterranean port where processing can be carried out.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been under pressure to find an alternative plan for the destruction of Syria's poison gas arsenal after Albania backed out of hosting the work.

The OPCW said 35 firms had expressed an interest in bidding for commercial contracts by Friday's deadline for the treatment of about 800 tons of bulk industrial chemicals that are safe to destroy in commercial incinerators.

But another 500 tons of chemicals, including nerve agents, are seen as too dangerous to import into a country or process commercially, and will be treated offshore on the US ship.

The OPCW said the operation would be carried out on a US vessel at sea using hydrolysis.

"Currently a suitable naval vessel is undergoing modifications to support the operations and to accommodate verification activities by the OPCW," the Hague-based watchdog added.

"The United States has offered to contribute a destruction technology, full operational support and financing to neutralize Syria's priority chemicals," an OPCW statement said.

The ship operation will destroy what is known as "priority chemical weapons," the most dangerous of Syria's total arsenal and ones that have to be out of the country by December 31 under an international deal agreed to avert Western military strikes on Damascus.

OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan on Saturday declined to name the vessel to be used.

OPCW member states have been thrashing out the details of how to destroy Damascus's arsenal ahead of the watchdog's annual meeting due to start on Monday.

The OPCW earlier this month adopted a final roadmap for ridding Syria of its arsenal of more than 1,000 tons of dangerous chemicals by mid-2014.

Syria is cooperating with the disarmament and has already said it had 1,290 tons of chemical weapons and precursors, or ingredients, as well as over 1,000 unfilled chemical munitions, such as shells, rockets or mortars.

Some chemical weapons are destroyed through a process known as hydrolysis, in which agents, like detergents, are used to neutralize chemicals such as mustard gas and sulfur, resulting in liquid waste known as effluent.

Nerve gases such as sarin are often better destroyed through incineration.

(Reuters, AFP)

Comments

I am happy and elated to see that at long last the present US administration has decided to begin the slow process of normalizing relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. While some knowledgeable parties and sources have indicated that the real underlying basis for this is the Obama administration's so called "pivot to Asia"; that fact should not blind us to the obvious greater good that can come out of the possibilities for peace breaking out in the Middle East as a result of this new initiative.

The international supervision of the destruction of these WMDs insures that many lives will be saved as a result of this action. An eventual negotiated settlement of the civil conflict in Syria based upon such models as the settlement of the civil conflict in El Salvador in Central America is now entirely possible.

They'll give them to Israel.

Woww! Hold your horses!!

The US will for sure ship them further to Turkey and from there hand them over to the terrorists in Syria whom will blow them up and blame Assad for hiding more chemical weapons and attack Syria.

You cannot give these weapons to the US due to they are the provider of weapons to the terrorists.

B

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