Norway has allocated funds to aid in the transport of Syrian chemical weapons so they can be destroyed. Here, an Albanian environmental activist wears a gas mask and shouts slogans as he takes part in a protest Thursday in front of the Albanian parliament in Tirana over the possibility of that country processing and destroying the weapons. (AFP/Getty Images)
HELSINKI — Norway’s newly elected right-center government has allocated US $10 million in special funding to support a military-led project that will contribute to the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Norway also will provide increased humanitarian aid to Syria and countries bordering the war-torn country.
Norway will, under the military-led logistical plan, provide civilian freight vessels and naval frigates to escort Syrian chemical weapons’ transports.
Additionally, Norway will transfer $15 million to the trust funds established by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to support efforts to destroy Syrian chemical weapons, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2118.
In a separate capital provision, the Norwegian government is allocating $17 million as project-specific aid to assist in humanitarian programs in countries bordering Syria. Norway has already provided $150 million to humanitarian and relief aid efforts in Syria.
“Norway is making an important and concrete contribution as a follow-up to the Security Council resolution 2118,” said Børge Brende, Norway’s foreign minister.
The military-led operation will guarantee that the chemical weapons’ shipments will have a high level of security to their undisclosed destination, said Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s defense minister.
“It is essential that the weapons are transported safely, and that is why we have assigned frigate protection as escort. Norway will also provide whatever military personnel may be needed as security on civilian cargo ships,” Søreide said.
In October, Norway turned down requests by the United States and the UN Security Council to oversee the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons at secure military bases and other depots in Norway, claiming the weapons-destruction schedule was too tight to enable the country to build the required expertise.
The UN Security Council, which will administer the total destruction of Syria’s entire stock of chemical weapons by July 2014, has estimated that arsenal at 1,000 tons.
The US and the UN Security Council had initially asked Norway to destroy some 50 metric tons of mixed chemicals in the form of mustard gas, and around 300 to 500 metric tons of materials used in the production of nerve agents.