Cyprus Base for Syria Weapons Removal

NICOSIA – A joint Danish and Norwegian task force of chemical specialists is being set up in Cyprus in preparation for the removal of chemical weapons from Syria.

The commander of the task force, Danish navy Commodore Torben Mikkelsen told journalists in the southern Cypriot port of Limassol that the plan involves two cargo vessels which will take the Syrian chemicals in the port of Latakia.

The chemicals will be delivered to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at a yet unnamed port for destruction, the Xinhua news agency said.

The agreement for the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal worked out in Geneva between the United States and Russia provides for the removal by the end of this year of 500 tons of chemicals which can be used to prepare Sarin and VX substances.

They will be delivered to an American ship which has been specially equipped to destroy them by hydrolysis, a process which turns the deadly chemicals into low toxicity liquid.

The cargo ships involved in the removal of the chemicals will be protected by two frigates of the Danish and Norwegian navies.