Norway, Denmark agree to transport Syria’s chemical weapons

    By IANS,

    Oslo : Norway and Denmark will work together in transporting Syria’s chemical weapons for destruction, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

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    “Based on decisions by the United Nations Security Council and the OPCW (the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), Norway and Denmark have agreed to offer a joint contribution to the transportation of chemical warfare agents out of Syria,” Xinhua cited from a Norwegian Foreign Ministry press release.

    Under the UN Security Council resolution 2118, the OPCW, which has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, is mandated to oversee the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.

    The most dangerous chemical warfare agents will be moved out of Syria by Dec 31, 2013 while a final plan for destructing Syria’s chemical weapons were expected to be approved by an OPCW Executive Committee meeting slated for Dec 17 2013, said the Norwegian ministry.

    In a joint statement, Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende and acting Danish Foreign Minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen said that their two countries are committed to the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2118.

    “Our governments have already offered significant assistance to the joint OPCW-UN mission, both military and financially. We are now planning for a joint naval operation to ensure transportation of chemical weapons out of Syria.”

    Denmark will provide to the joint mission frigates, a Hercules aircraft and about 300 people. The cost was estimated at 60 to 70 million Danish kroner ($10.8 million to $12.6 million) on the Danish side.

    Norway will contributes the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad with 180 people including specialists in handling chemical weapons.

    The agreement needs to win approval in both countries, said the Norwegian news agency NTB.

    KNM Helge Ingstad set course toward the Mediterranean Monday from Bergen, a port city on west coast of Norway, NTB said quoting Norwegian military sources.

    Norway has promised 15 million Norwegian kroner ($2.44 million) for carrying out the destruction operation, the ministry said.

    Norway had earlier rejected a request by the US for taking Syria’s chemical weapons to Norway for destroying.