Middle East

OPCW: 14 firms bid to destroy part of Syrian chemicals

OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu attends a press conference in a Rome hotel, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

THE HAGUE: The global chemical arms watchdog said Monday it had received 14 tenders from private companies around the world to destroy Syria's chemical arsenal outside of the war-ravaged country.

The Organsiation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it would decide early next month which companies would destroy the 500 metric tonnes of chemicals, plus the effluent left over from neutralisation of other chemicals to be carried out on a US ship.

Tenders to help destroy Syria's entire arsenal by a tight June 30 deadline came from a wide-range of companies, including France's Airbus, China National Chemical Corporation, Switzerland's Dottikon and US-based Paragon Waste Solutions.

Germany said earlier this month that it would help destroy waste left over from neutralising Syria's chemicals, and Britain said in December it would destroy 150 tonnes of its industrial grade chemicals.

The OPCW said in November that the treatment and disposal of Syria's chemicals would cost between 35 and 45 million euros ($47-$61 million).

The OPCW will announce which company or companies have been selected in early February after "technical and commercial evaluation of the bids."

OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu said earlier this month that a deadline for destroying the deadliest chemicals by March 31 may not be met but said he was confident the entire arsenal would be decommissioned by a June 30 deadline laid out in a UN plan.

UN Security Council resolution 2118 was passed after a massive chemical weapon attack that killed hundreds in several opposition areas around Damascus in August.

Rebels and the regime exchanged blame for that attack.





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