Albania to say whether will destroy Syria chemical arms

TIRANA- Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said he would announce whether the Balkan country would accept to destroy Syrian chemical weaponry on its soil at the press conference later Friday.
"Today at 1600 GMT, I will publicly present my stance on the chemical weapons issue," Rama wrote on his Facebook page.

Until now, Rama said his government had yet to decide if it would accept to have the Syrian chemical weaponry destroyed in its soil.
Albania, along with France, Belgium, have been mooted as possible sites for the dismantling of Syria's entire chemical arsenal, estimated at about 1,000 tonnes.
Rama said last week he had spoken to US Secretary of State about the possibility, insisting that his cabinet has been in talks with Albania's NATO partners.
Alexander Arvizu, US ambassador to Albania said late Thursday that Washington would be disappointed if the Balkan country rejected the move, but would respect the decision.
In an interview to local TOP Chanell TV station, Arvizu said that Washington has given all explanations and offered all possible guarantees to Tirana.
The United States hoped for a positive decision, Arvizu said, adding that consultations between US officials and Rama's office were ongoing.
Rama's Socialist-led government has been faced with a week-long growing protest against the destruction of Syrian chemical weaponry.
Hundreds of people have spent the night in front of the Albanian government's seat, while thousands of protestors gathered in several towns in the country.
Under a UN Security Council resolution passed in September, Syria's weaponry has to be destroyed by June 30, 2014.
Six years ago, it was confirmed that Albania had destroyed its own stockpile of chemical weapons, a leftover from the communist period.
Norway, another country mooted as a place to destroy Syria's weapons, has refused to do so.

Friday, November 15th 2013

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