U.S. seeks Mediterranean port for unloading Syrian chemicals

Brussels, Dec 13 (EFE).- The United States has asked Spain, France and Italy for the use of a Mediterranean port for unloading chemical products proceeding from the destruction of the Syrian arsenal, diplomatic sources said Friday.

A U.S. Navy ship will be in charge of neutralizing on the high seas the most dangerous of the chemical substances coming out of Syria - such as sarin and mustard gases - and is looking for a place to unload the remains of the process, the sources said.

They said the substances to be unloaded will have been reduced to a much less dangerous level, so that private companies will be able to take them over.

No decision has yet been taken as to which country and which specific port will undertake the task, something that could be done next week when the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expects to wrap up the detailed plan for eliminating Syria's entire chemical arsenal over the next few months.

The most dangerous products are expected to be transported from the Arab country before the end of the year and be destroyed by March 2014 at the latest, while the rest of the substances will be eliminated gradually up to mid-2014.

The OPCW and the United Nations are leading the process of destroying Syria's chemical weapons thanks to an accord signed by Russia and the United States, the country that has assumed a major role in finishing off the chemical disarmament successfully.