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.
    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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora