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June 20, 2018

Germany to help destroy Syria chemical weapons

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Germany is joining international efforts to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, the foreign and defense ministries have announced.

Waste from the destroyed weapons would be burned at a government facility in the town of Muenster, they said.

Germany said it was responding to a request for help from the UN and OPCW, co-ordinators of the destruction plan.

The first consignment of toxic chemicals left Syria on a Danish ship early this week.

It is travelling to Italy, where it will be loaded onto a US Navy ship and shipped to international waters for destruction in a specially created titanium tank on board.

Germany decided, after a request from the UN and the OPCW, it “is prepared to make a substantial contribution to the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons,” the foreign and defence ministries said in a joint statement.

“The government is willing and able to destroy in Germany remnants created in the course of irreversibly neutralising chemical weapons from Syria and which resemble industrial waste.”

The statement said the project would be handled by the state-owned company GEKA in Muenster “in full compliance with environmental regulations”.

Britain has also offered to help get rid of the waste.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in a deal brokered by the US and Russia last year.

It followed international outrage when rockets filled with the nerve agent sarin were fired at three towns in the Ghouta agricultural belt around the Syrian capital, Damascus, on 21 August.

Hundreds of people were killed in the attacks.

Western powers said only Syrian government forces could have carried out the assault, but President Bashar al-Assad blamed rebel fighters.

 

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