Norway to send ships to Syria to ferry weapons out

By Bradley Klapper

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14 2013 10:17 a.m. MST

In this photo provided by the United Nations, Borge Brende, center, Norway’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaks across the table to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (not shown) at United Nations Headquarters, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. The others in the photo are unidentified.

The United Nations, Amanda Voisard, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — Norway is the first country to say it will send military servicemen to Syria to help the U.N. eliminate President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons arsenal.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende tells The Associated Press in an interview that Norway will send a civilian cargo ship and Navy frigate to Syrian ports to pick up the weapons and carry them elsewhere for destruction.

The U.N.'s Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons is still working out the plan for destroying the stockpiles.

Fifty servicemen usually accompany a Norwegian frigate, but Brende says destroying the weapons is a Norwegian obligation.

He says the operation "is not risk-free." But Brende says leaving the weapons in Syria is an even bigger risk.

Denmark is also considering such support. It is awaiting parliamentary approval.

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