News / Europe

Albania Rejects US Request to Destroy Syria's Chemical Weapons

Demonstrators wear masks during a protest against the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons in Albania, in front of the U.S. embassy in Tirana, November 12, 2013.
Demonstrators wear masks during a protest against the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons in Albania, in front of the U.S. embassy in Tirana, November 12, 2013.
VOA News
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has rejected a U.S. request that Albania host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

In a speech Friday, Mr. Rama said it is "impossible" for the Balkan nation to take part in the operation. He said no other countries have stepped forward to house a facility that will dismantle the weapons.

His announcement came amid strong opposition to the plan in Albania. On Friday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside Mr. Rama's office in the capital, Tirana, waving banners and chanting "No to chemical weapons."

Earlier Friday, a chemical weapons monitoring group met to decide the fate of Syria's chemical arsenal, with Albania emerging as a possible place where the weapons would be destroyed.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said Syria's stockpile should be moved out of the country before the risky process of destroying the arsenal is carried out.

Syria's government, which has submitted a detailed disarmament plan to the OPCW, shares that view. But the search for a country willing to receive the weapons has been unsuccessful.

Norway has offered to send a navy frigate and a civilian cargo ship to Syria to help transport the weapons. But Oslo refused to allow the stockpile to be destroyed on Norwegian soil.

Under a U.N.-backed plan, Syria has agreed to destroy its chemical arsenal by the middle of next year. Its stockpile includes poison gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin.

More than 120,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, while more than 2 million others have been forced to flee their homes.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: JKF from: Great North (Canada)
November 18, 2013 3:43 PM
It should be mandatory that the chemicals be returned to the countries that provided the precusor chemicals; and the destruction should be at the full expense of those companies. And the countries from where the precursors came should be fully liable for all compensation to the victims of such chemicals. That is one of the ways that would reduce the proliferation of such chemical weapons.

by: Daniel Nikolla from: London
November 16, 2013 8:45 PM
NO! NO! NO! We said! US AND RUSSIA take their rubbish to their countries!!!


by: Maithe from: Paris, France
November 16, 2013 8:52 AM
One can understand Albania !
Who really at the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons - Nobel Peace Price by the way ...- had this 'bright' idea ?...
Why they don't ask "all smiles" Rouhani to take care of the "risky process of destroying the arsenal"( as they put it) on the iranian soil ? I'm sure he would be delighted to 'help' and get some money and looks like the good guy in Geneva ...
Things are turning more and more nasty. It's a shame.

by: Olatunji from: nigeria
November 16, 2013 6:22 AM
Nigeria ll well heartedly accept the chemical weapon though millions of dollar ll follow as millions live in abject and cronical poverty b'cos of high corruption

by: al baba from: new york
November 16, 2013 4:23 AM
IS Us lost the touch of reality ? We should for our internal problem like health care which is out of control .. the hospital and drug companies are overcharging people .the corruption in health care is worst than the corruption in all under development countries. still Us want go for another war because Syria has chemical weapons ? is that US is making favor for Muslim brotherhood whom fight Bashar el Assad . We spend million in afghisstan and billion in Iraq. We should look for our problem and let middle East Psychopaths figure out how they solve their own problem.

by: Igor from: Russia
November 15, 2013 11:54 PM
It is a good idea that we should destroy those chemical weapons in Israel because Israel is among the topten countries which want them to be destroyed.

by: endrit from: albania
November 15, 2013 6:33 PM
Is USA and Russia that decide for that, rich countries, they can destroid the weapons to everywhere( money no problem) they can in deserd or in Antarctica also, hehe they also can destroid in the "moon" if they want; so itis a shame to choose the cheaper option (Albania) and we know if we are not integrate country as the rest of Europe but we have our dignity as well! Albania was just the cheaper option for the weapons and this is a shame also cause war in Syria killed many peoples in those 3 years and deserve a bigger attention and effort from USA and
Russia! USA and Russia should use just them power for the peace they pretent to give Syria, if they so human they can spend more for this peace and the life's they save in Syria finding the right place for the demonatation and not the cheaper one like Albania! Goodluck to Syrian peoples!

by: endrit from: albania
November 15, 2013 2:37 PM
Mr. Goodwin,,,
We decide the right thing, and me as Albanian I'm feeling more safe now here in my country...
They can find better places to destroid those weapons, Albania already have many problems to take care, we can't take care of all the world
In Response

by: ahmad from: abuja
November 15, 2013 4:41 PM
well said..they should take it to us

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 15, 2013 1:26 PM
Destroying chemical weapons in Albania would have been a humanitarian assistance to the region being contributed by the country that accepts it. Now who knows if political undertones may have been responsible for the rejection. If done in good faith, well. But the only thing to be rejected from USA is not just the proposal to save lives that Assad, the network of terrorists in the opposition and Iran want to destroy with sarin poison, what other things can you say no to? Please list them out too when you have started saying no. Could you also have been induced by Russia, Iran or China to say it as if it is from your own mind?
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 16, 2013 4:33 AM
Bashar el Assad is less evil than the Syrian rebel which their aim is to establish a terrorist camp in middle East. the story of chemical weapons is made by Muslim brotherhood propaganda which is control the major media such as al Jazeera and probably CNN . Muslim brotherhood is financing by gulf countries and the Arab who live in Us . they have the money and extreme desire to destroy the world for the sake of islam
In Response

by: Proconsul from: Planet Earth
November 15, 2013 3:11 PM
How about Nigeria taking over this 'humanitarian task'?
In Response

by: rouben from: albania
November 15, 2013 2:39 PM
People in albania were blissfully unaware of syrian chemical weapons until a week before decision day, aka 15th november when merica laid this down on us. We had to speak hard against usa and our corrupt prime minister and got our victory but it was very touch and go. The american government was talking a lot of heavy talk on us like its our duty to world peace and all that rot, as if it was us the albanians who made the damn things in the first place!!!

Everyone was freaked out because the best scenario was to be left with huge amounts of toxic waste mere km away from populated areas, im talking imagine a small lake of chemical waste!!! whereas the worst scenario was a leak of sarin or mustard gas either during transport or during destruction and how bad that is doesnt even bare thinking.

A small insight on why americans cant keep their allies stick to them for very long

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs