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Topic: Albania

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November 20, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Albania’s refusal to be the dustbin for Syrian chemical weapons

International observers did a double take when Albania said “no” to the U.S. request to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons supply. “What happens now?” is one question, but Albania’s refusal to its U.S. ally caused heads to turn as well.

As a prior blog post explained, Albania and the U.S. are close, and the country on the Adriatic Sea has bailed America out of some awkward diplomatic spots.

This looked like another opportunity. Albania even has experience cleaning up its own 16-ton chemical weapons arsenal, with U.S. technical and financial support, as explained by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama turns down the U.S. request. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama turns down the U.S. request.
(AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

This time Albanians rallied to oppose the clean-up request, even as organizers made clear they respected and valued the friendship of the U.S.

The “what happens next?” phase is not clear. Belgium was on the short lists of candidates, and that country said no. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons, a Nobel Peace Prize winner this year, had a timetable for removal and disposal of the weapons from Syria. Reuters reports the U.S. still hopes to meet that schedule.

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Comments | Topics: Albania, chemical weapons, Edi Rama