Syria calls for money, vehicles to move chemical weapons

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 11:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 4:50am

Syria's deputy foreign minister warned that efforts to rid his country of chemical weapons could fail if the international community does not contribute money and equipment.

Faisal Mekdad told reporters at a meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that his country needs armoured vehicles and other resources to move chemicals out of Syria for destruction.

"Without these resources it will be difficult if not impossible for Syria and for all OPCW to implement the decisions," he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said in a letter to the Security Council that the mission needs an "unprecedented effort" by the world.

The OPCW is aiming to destroy Syria's entire chemical weapons programme by the middle of next year. It is the first time the organisation has attempted such an effort in the midst of a civil war.

Norway and Denmark have offered merchant ships to help transport chemicals and the US will provide a ship on which the most toxic chemicals can be destroyed at sea. Some three dozen private companies have also expressed an interest in destroying less toxic chemicals, which make up the bulk of the 1,300 tonnes of weapons and chemicals declared by Damascus.