Norway rules out destroying Syrian chemical arms on its soil

AFP , Friday 25 Oct 2013

Norway's FM Boerge Brende says technical and legal constraints as well as 'tight schedule' makes it difficult for his country to accept a request from the United States to destroy Syria's chemical arsenal on its soil

Norway said Friday it would not be able to accommodate a request from the United States to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal on its soil, saying the schedule was too tight.

"With the understanding of the United States we have concluded that... it's no longer appropriate to consider Norway as a site for the destruction (of the weapons)," Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said.

Brende said the decision was based on the tight schedule -- everything must be destroyed by the middle of next year -- as well as technical and legal constraints.

The UN Security Council adopted its Resolution 2118 in September, demanding the destruction of Syria's entire chemical arsenal, estimated at about 1,000 tonnes, by June 30 next year.

The resolution was a last-minute measure to prevent US air attacks on Syria in retaliation for the regime's alleged use of the weapons against its own people.

Brende had said on Wednesday his government was studying "very seriously" a US request to accept components from the Syrian arsenal for destruction on Norwegian soil.

But even then, the Norwegian minister had pointed out obstacles to meeting the request, including the absence of expertise and the lack of infrastructure needed for a task such as this.

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