Albania rejects request to destroy Syrian weapons

Albania rejected a request from the United States for the tiny impoverished Balkan nation to host the destruction of Syria`s chemical weapons stockpile, a major blow to international efforts to destroy the arsenal by mid-2014.

PTI| Updated: Nov 15, 2013, 23:55 PM IST

Tirana: Albania on Friday rejected a request from the United States for the tiny impoverished Balkan nation to host the destruction of Syria`s chemical weapons stockpile, a major blow to international efforts to destroy the arsenal by mid-2014.

In a televised address, Prime Minister Edi Rama said it was "impossible for Albania to take part in this operation."

The announcement was greeted by a loud cheer from some 2,000 protesters camped outside Rama`s office who opposed the plan to dismantle the weapons in Albania.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been discussing a plan to destroy Syria`s estimated 1,000-metric ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin.
Syria says it wants the weapons destroyed outside the country and the OPCW has described that as the "most viable" option. Today`s meeting of the OPCW`s Executive Council in The Hague was adjourned to allow national delegations to work on the wording of the plan.
Meanwhile, outside Rama`s office, hundreds of youths camped overnight to protest the plan. "We don`t have the infrastructure here to deal with the chemical weapons. We can`t deal with our own stuff, let alone Syrian weapons," said 19-year-old architecture student Maria Pesha, echoing the fears of many residents. "We have no duty to obey anyone on this, NATO or the US."