Historic mission in Syria nears conclusion
‘We are very pleased that the process of transporting chemical weapons out of Syria has now been completed. The last consignment of chemicals was shipped out of Syria today. This means that the international community, working together, has managed to remove Syria’s declared chemical weapons in a peaceful manner. This is in line with the UN Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons and represents a historic milestone in international cooperation,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed today that the last consignment of Syria’s declared chemical weapons has left the port of Latakia. The chemical weapons will now be destroyed in accordance with the OPCW’s plans. On Saturday, the Norwegian freighter MV Taiko delivered 52 containers of chemicals to Finland for destruction. The rest of the consignment on board will be delivered to the US for destruction. This is the first time a country’s arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction has been removed in such a manner.
‘I am proud of the way in which the Norwegian Armed Forces have carried out their part of the mission. Removing these weapons from Syria has been vital for ensuring that they cannot be used against the civilian population or fall into the wrong hands. The efforts of our Armed Forces are an important contribution to international peace and security. Although the operation has taken longer than first anticipated, Norway has remained determined throughout to see it through to its conclusion,’ said Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The OPCW-UN Joint Mission has been mandated by the UN Security Council to oversee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. The Norwegian–Danish operation to transport these weapons out of Syria is part of the OPCW-UN mission. Since December 2013, Norway has put a civilian cargo vessel and a military escort vessel at the disposal of the UN and the OPCW, and has also provided specially trained military personnel on board the Norwegian freighter MV Taiko.
‘Although Syria’s declared chemical weapons have now been removed, the civil war continues to rage. The humanitarian costs of the war are increasing by the day. The parties to the conflict, the international community – and the UN Security Council in particular – have a great responsibility to continue to work towards finding a political solution to the conflict,’ Mr Brende said.