News / Europe

Albania's Rejection Leaves Few Options for Syria's Chemicals Destruction

Albania's Rejection Leaves Few Options for Syria's Chemicals Destructioni
X
November 22, 2013 6:43 PM
Albania's rejection of a U.S. request that it host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile highlights the daunting task of where to carry out a crucial part of the international deal that avoided U.S. strikes on Syria.
TEXT SIZE - +
Keida Kostreci
Albania's rejection of a U.S. request that it host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile highlights the daunting task of where to carry out a crucial part of the international deal that avoided U.S. strikes on Syria.

The U.S. recently asked its ally, Albania, to agree to the request. After a week fraught with protests and lack of information in Albania, Prime Minister Edi Rama rejected to destroy Syrian chemical weapons on his country's soil.  

Former U.S. ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker says the request to Albania was a U.S. effort to seize a fortuitous opportunity.
 
He asked, “Where else can you go where you have an ally or you have the possibility of executing this, where you have a government that may be willing to help?

Albania is only one of three nations worldwide that have declared a chemical weapons stockpile to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and destroyed it.

Counting on its strong relationship with the United States, Albania was considered OPCW’s strongest hope to take Syria's stockpile. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had three phone conversations with Rama in efforts to secure cooperation.  

“When the secretary of state takes on an issue that he feels needs to be resolved - in this case the disposition of Syria’s chemical weapons - then he is going to do whatever he feels he needs to do to try to advance that process,” Volker said.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Ian Brzezinski says Albania’s decision was a setback for the efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The United States government put a lot of hope that Albania would provide the resources and the location for the destruction of these weapons," he said. "So now we have a process under way, a strategy under way to eliminate these weapons as missing a specific and very important component. Where and how they are going to be destroyed.”

Brzezinski says the international community has a difficult path ahead.

“The next step for the United States together with Russia is to find another country that could host the facilities to destroy these weapons, these chemicals," he said. "There are basically two options out there - find another country that will do it or destroy them on site in Syria, which of course raises a whole set of security issues.”

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany and Norway, have said they will not destroy Syrian chemical weapons on their soil. OPCW spokesman Christian Chartier said Wednesday the alternative of a destruction at sea, on a boat or floating rig, is a “feasible” possibility.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AB from: Tirana
November 26, 2013 8:05 AM
This article doesn't fully cover the whole array of facts, therefore I find it both biased and misleading. Biased since it refers mainly to opinions of why Albania is THE best host candidate, but absolutely lacks on arguments that make Albania the worse choice to execute such complex task due to poor infrastructure, lack of resources, human expertise, corruption, lack of legislation, and so on. This of course makes the hinted suggestions of taking over the stockpile misleading.

Yes, Albania is one of the best allies of US, so are Germany, Norway and Belgium which all refused to take Syria's Stockpile in their backyard. Does Albania have more experience, expertise and resources to handle such an operation than Germany, Norway and Belgium? So the problem digs deeper than being just good allies with willingness to contribute on the matter.


by: JC
November 23, 2013 9:21 AM
This report is one-sided. The opinion of these well-respected individuals should have been balanced with that of the other side. Being a trusted ally does not necessarily mean that the U.S. should ask a country to do the impossible. Albania has absolutely no capacity to undertake such a daunting task. Moreover, implying that Albania was a success story with expertise and capacity in chemical weapons destruction is misleading. Back in 2007 the country used outside - mainly U.S. - financial and technical help to destroy its very small chemical arsenal. And yet, the waste from that process is still unsecured and reportedly leaking at a location near the capital city of Tirana, because the country has no proper landfill. Most importantly, as U.S. law reportedly prohibits entry into the U.S. territory of chemical weapons, so does Albanian law as well. The U.S. administration should have thought twice before asking Albania to do something it simply could not do.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid