Author Topic: Russia to allocate large number of armored trucks to remove chemical weapons from Syria - OPCW director-general  (Read 237 times)

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Russia will allocate a large number of armored trucks as a contribution to the operation on removing chemical weapons from Syria, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The Russian Federation is providing large capacity and armored trucks, water tanks, and other logistical supplies," the statement says. Russia has also "indicated the possibility of further monetary or material assistance, as well as security for cargo operations at the port and in Syrian territorial waters," Uzumcu said.

The OPCW director-general said in his statement that Syria has formulated a plan for transporting the chemicals from the 12 storage sites to the port of Latakia, where they will be loaded onto the maritime vessels.

"It will also implement a security and safety plan during movement of materials within the Syrian Arab Republic," he said.

The details are part of an ambitious plan unveiled by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at a meeting of its Executive Council published Wednesday despite delays to the overall operation which aims to be completed by mid-2014.

A Danish and a Norwegian frigate are waiting in Cyprus to escort Nordic cargo ships to collect the chemicals from Syria's main port Latakia, but the hazardous materials are still at 12 sites around Syria.

The Nordic vessels will take the chemicals to an Italian port, where they will be loaded onto the US ship for destruction, before returning to Latakia to pick up the remaining chemicals to be destroyed at commercial facilities outside of Syria.

The OPCW had set itself a December 31 deadline for the most dangerous chemicals to be taken out of Syria, via Latakia, but that date is likely to be pushed back.

Syria's most dangerous chemicals must be destroyed by March 31.

Finland is providing chemical weapons emergency-response capabilities for the operation, Uzumcu said.

Russia will also provide sailors and naval vessels to secure cargo operations at Latakia and within Syrian territorial waters.

The US is also supplying 3,000 containers for transporting the over 1,000 tonnes of lethal chemicals and precursors, as well as loading, transportation and decontamination equipment, Uzumcu said.

Besides the surveillance cameras, required to monitor the transportation operation that is being carried out by the Syrian regime, China is also supplying 10 ambulances.

Uzumcu said that a trust fund set up for Syria's ambitious disarmament programme currently has 9.8 million euros ($13.5 million), while Japan has pledged a further $15 million.

Decision to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons aboard US ship 'quite feasible'

Plans to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons aboard an American vessel are "pragmatic and quite feasible". Such an appraisal was given on here on Wednesday by Vasily Titushkin, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

"This technology, as American colleagues tell us, is a well tried and tested one and involves no particular complexities," he remarked. "We have grounds to be confident that the Americans have calculated all risks and are prepared to ensure safety at the highest level because they are aware of the measure of responsibility for the outcome of the operation to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons".

Answering why Russia is not viewed as a country which can eliminate chemical weapons from Syria in its territory, Titushkin explained that "Russian legislation straightforwardly and without any exceptions prohibits the importation and exportation of combat chemical agents". "However, Russia intends to render material, technical and financial assistance in the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons, in their removal, in particular," the diplomat specified.

On Wednesday, the OPCW made a decision, according to which the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons outside Syria will be carried out aboard an American vessel. The operation is to be completed by March 31, 2014.

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I like the balance of logisitics here. USA, China and Russia getting together with two countries widely perceived as neutral/harmless to send a message to anyone thinking of chemical weapons.

"You will be disarmed of such capability. We all agree on this."
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