Syrian Chemical Arsenal Likely to Be Taken Abroad for Disposal

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) – Most of Syria’s chemical weapons are likely to be taken abroad for disposal, a Russian first deputy foreign minister said Friday.

“There are many arguments in favor of taking the vast majority of the poisonous substances outside of the country’s borders,” Sergei Ryabkov said after talks with Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag, who heads an international mission to eradicate Syria’s chemical arsenal.

The Russian official said the talks focused on “technological and legal aspects” of the ongoing effort to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons.

When asked to comment on Russian media reports about the possible disposal of the weapons in Albania, Kaag replied that aspects of the dismantlement program were still under discussion.

“At the moment, representatives of Russia, the United States and the Syrian leadership are engaged in negotiations that are to produce a detailed plan of the process to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria,” she said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement later in the day that the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons had entered its second, “key” stage.

“During [the second phase] we will have to gather main stockpiles of precursor chemicals in a coastal region of Syria and take them for subsequent elimination in a third country that would agree to dispose of them under the control of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Syrian authorities,” the statement reads.

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