Norway nixes U.S. request to receive Syrian chem weapons

Sept. 27, 2013 file photo shows car arriving at headquarters of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, in The Hague, Netherlands; the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 11, 2013
File,AP Photo/Peter Dejong

OSLO, Norway Norway has turned down a U.S. request to receive the bulk of Syria's chemical weapons for destruction because it doesn't have the capabilities to complete the task by the deadlines given, the Norwegian foreign minister said Friday.

Boerge Brende said Norway hadn't been able to identify a port that could receive the weapons and didn't have the capacity to treat some of the waste products resulting from the destruction of the munitions.

In a webcast news conference, Brende said both the U.S. and Norway agreed there was no point in continuing "the evaluation of Norway as a place for this destruction."

Brende said the U.S. is looking at other alternatives but didn't give details.

Norway earlier this week said it was one of the nations that had been asked to take part in the destruction of 50 metric tons of mixed chemicals in the form of mustard gas and some 300-500 metric tons of materials needed to make nerve agents.

The U.S. and Russia set a mid-2014 deadline for the destruction of Syria's arsenal, which Brende said was too tight for Norway.

A joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a chemical weapons watchdog group, is charged with eliminating Syria's chemical weapons, chemicals needed to make them and production facilities by the deadline.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has until Sunday to declare its chemical weapons holdings and facilities to the OPCW.

As of Monday, the OPCW had inspected 17 of the 45 chemical weapons sites that U.S. intelligence believes the regime has.