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Oslo (AFP) Nov 14, 2013
Norway said Thursday it would offer logistical support for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal despite refusing to carry out the operation on its soil as requested by the United States.
Oslo will offer a civilian ship to help transport the weapons to an as yet undecided location, along with a military frigate to escort any future convoy, the country's foreign ministry said.
The Scandinavian country would also promise 90 million krone (10.8 million euros, $15 million) to the United Nations and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to carry out the operation, the ministry added.
Norway said on October 25 it could not accommodate an American request to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal on its soil, saying the schedule was too tight and that it lacked the expertise required.
Albania is considering a similar demand, while France and Belgium are also believed to have been asked for possible help by Washington.
The joint Russian-US Syrian chemical weapons disarmament plan was endorsed by the UN Security Council in September.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding the destruction of Syria's entire chemical arsenal, estimated at about 1,000 tonnes, by June 30 next year.
The resolution was a last-minute measure to prevent US air attacks on Syria in retaliation for the regime's alleged use of the weapons against its own people after a chemical attack against a Damascus suburb in August left hundreds dead.
The OPCW, which is currently inspecting chemical weapons' production and storage sites in Syria, is due to adopt a roadmap for their destruction by November 15.
Syria team to Moscow Monday to prepare for talks: govt
The source said on Thursday the delegation would be made up of President Bashar al-Assad's presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad and Ahmad Arnous, the ministry's senior official on European affairs.
"The delegation will meet Russian officials to finalise the details of the peace conference due to be held in Geneva," the official said.
Syrian government daily Al-Watan on Thursday said that the Geneva talks would be held on December 12.
However, an adviser to the president of the opposition National Coalition has said a date for the talks dubbed Geneva II had not been finalised.
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