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Norway Rules Out Hosting Destruction of Syrian Warfare Chemicals

A Syrian opposition fighter fires a rocket-propelled grenade during combat earlier this month in the city of Aleppo. Norway on Friday rejected a U.S. request to help destroy chemical-warfare materials stockpiled by the Syrian government (Abo al-Nur Sadk/AFP/Getty Images). A Syrian opposition fighter fires a rocket-propelled grenade during combat earlier this month in the city of Aleppo. Norway on Friday rejected a U.S. request to help destroy chemical-warfare materials stockpiled by the Syrian government (Abo al-Nur Sadk/AFP/Getty Images).

Norway on Friday turned down a call by Washington to assist in eliminating chemical-warfare materials from civil-war-torn Syria, Reuters reported.

After giving the prospect "serious and thorough consideration," the Scandinavian country decided it was not ideal for the task "due to time constraints and external factors, such as capacities [and] regulatory requirements," the Norwegian Foreign Ministry stated.

Syrian President Bashar Assad admitted his forces possess chemical weapons and agreed to their destruction in September, after a nerve-gas attack weeks earlier raised the possibility of U.S. military intervention in the nation's civil war. The development prompted the start of a fast-track push to inventory and eliminate the government's chemical arsenal by the middle of next year; however, many specifics of the destruction process remain undecided.

Several additional countries have stepped up to potentially support the chemical-disarmament effort. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday identified Denmark as one of those nations, but he did not elaborate on what assistance the Nordic state could provide. In Washington, Danish Ambassador to the United States Peter Taksoe-Jensen was scheduled to meet on Friday with Thomas Countryman, assistant secretary of State for international security and nonproliferation.

Sweden on Thursday said it would contribute an airplane with a flight crew to help transfer international disarmament personnel and gear between Cyprus and Syria, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, Assad's government is required by Sunday to send the world's chemical-weapons watchdog a full disclosure of its chemical-arms stockpile and plans for eliminating it, USA Today reported on Friday.

On Wednesday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons indicated it expected within "24 hours" to receive the document demanded by a multilateral decision from last month. The agency as of press time had provided no further updates.

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