Germany offers help to destroy Syrian chemical weapons

Berlin, Jan 10 (IANS) Germany will help in world efforts to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday.

“No one shall refuse to help if he has the technical capacity,” reported Xinhua citing Steinmeier who added that the German government has therefore decided not to shirk its responsibility and to make a substantial contribution.
According to media reports, Germany has offered to take several hundred tonnes of very diluted materials, rather than complete chemical weapons and comparable with liquid industrial waste. Those materials would come to Munster in northern Germany’s state of Lower Saxony and be destroyed in facilities of the German armed forces.
“Germany has safe technology and experience with the destruction of chemical weapons waste,” Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said, noting it would be a valuable contribution to the peace process to help destroy chemical materials from Syria.
The first batch of Syria’s chemical weapons materials was shipped out of the country for destruction Tuesday, beginning a crucial phase of an internationally backed disarmament program.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has asked Germany for help in destruction efforts, but Germany has so far refused a delivery of weapons materials to the country, media reports said.