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Middle East

Syria weapons 'could be destroyed at sea'

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, OPCW chief Ahmet Uzümcü said that such a plan would be safe and feasible.

Last updated: 23 Nov 2013 15:54
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Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons at sea is safe and feasible, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has told Al Jazeera, as a December deadline to complete the task fast approaches.

Some 798 tonnes of chemicals and 7.7 million litres of effluent need to be transported and disposed off, the OPCW said.

 OPCW reveals Syria's weapons destruction process

"Everything will be done according to the international regulations and in a very safe manner and all measures, in fact, will be taken appropriately either during the transportation of those substances by ship and also during the destruction," Ahmet Üzümcü, OPCW director general, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview.

Üzümcü also said they expect America to be at the forefront of the process. "We expect that they will take the lead," he said.

"There are already some facilities manufactured by the US that can be installed easily on a a ship or on land."

The world is in agreement about destroying Syria's chemical weapons as part of a US-Russia deal aimed at heading off strikes on the Damascus regime after deadly chemical attacks in August.

Despite consensus on destroying the chemicals outside war-wracked Syria, no country has volunteered to have them destroyed on its soil.

Syria is cooperating with the disarmament and has already said it had 1,290 tonnes of chemical weapons and precursors, or ingredients, as well as over 1,000 unfilled chemical munitions, such as shells, rockets or mortars.

Some chemical weapons are destroyed through a process known as hydrolysis, in which agents, like detergents, are used to neutralise chemicals such as mustard gas and sulphur, resulting in liquid waste known as effluent.

The full interview will be shown on "Talk to Al Jazeera" on Al Jazeera English, Sunday November 23, 19:30 GMT. 

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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