Russia sees wide understanding on Syrian chemical weapons destruction
MOSCOW, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- There is wide understanding on how to destroy Syrian chemical stockpiles safely, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Monday.
"There is mutual understanding on the very high level among all participants of that process. I think the optimal decisions will be found," Bogdanov told reporters.
After Albania and other European countries refused to destroy Syrian chemical arsenals on its territory, the decision was made to carry out the destruction in the open sea.
Russia relies on U.S. assistance in implementing the task, as the latter possesses a specially equipped vessel to carry out the process, the diplomat said.
He admonished terrorists and extremists from attempts to hamper transportation of the chemical substances to the Syrian port of Latakia.
Last week, Pentagon offered the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) technical help for removing mustard gas, components of sarin from Syria.
According to the U.S. Defense Ministry, the products of the neutralization will not be dumped at sea but be stored and kept on the ship until their eventual disposition at a commercial waste- treatment facility.
The OPCW said 35 firms expressed their interest in contracts for the treatment of about 800 tones of the disposed combat chemicals.
Since August, experts from the OPCW have been in Syria with a task to destroy its chemical weapon stockpiles.
Under an OPCW plan, the most dangerous chemical agents are to be transported out of Syria by Dec. 31, while the rest will be shipped out for destruction no later than June 30, 2014.