Disarmament teams returned Scandinavian escort vessels to port Monday as they accepted an end-of-year deadline for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons could no longer be met, a Norwegian spokesman said.
A roadmap adopted earlier this month by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to rid Syria of its chemical stockpile, says "priority" weapons have to be removed from the country by December 31.
The head of the joint United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons team charged with eliminating chemical weapons in Syria said Wednesday that despite obstacles, the programme to remove and destroy chemical agents at sea was on track.
The United States has offered to destroy Syrian chemicals on a US ship, the global chemical weapons watchdog said on Saturday, and is looking for a suitable Mediterranean port where processing can be carried out.
A spokesman for the global chemical weapons watchdog says destroying Syria`s stockpile of poison gas and nerve agents at sea is a possible alternative to finding a country willing to host the destruction.
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.
To be able to destroy the Syrian chemical weapons within the given deadline, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) has urged "temporary" truce between the Bashar al-Assad government and Syrian rebels on Wednesday.