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Norway ship escorts first Syria chemicals cargo

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Norway ship escorts first Syria chemicals cargo
KNM Helge Ingstad - Bjørnar Henningsen
13:54 CET+01:00
The first consignment of chemical weapons from Syria left the country on the Danish cargo vessel Ark Futura on Tuesday, escorted by the Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad, a Danish frigate, and marine vessels from China and Russia.
“It is positive that the transport of chemical weapons out of Syria is now underway," Norway's Foreign Minister Børge Brende said in a statement on Tuesday. "This is an important step in implementing the decision by the UN and the OPCW to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. It is crucial that the remaining components are brought to Latakia as quickly as possible.”
 
The collection happened after a previous attempt to collect the materials was suddenly aborted after Syrian officials failed to deliver the toxic chemicals to the collection point at the port in Latakia on time. 
 
Norwegian cargo vessel MV Taiko is now preparing to take pick up a second consignment of chemical weapons components. 
 
The cargo will be taken to Italy, where it will be transferred to a US Navy ship and taken to international waters for destruction in a special titanium tank. 
 
Neither the OPCW nor the UN gave details on what proportion to  Syria's estimated 1,300 tonnes of chemical weapons and precursors had been removed.
 
The removal of the chemical weapons has been delayed because of heavy fighting along the main road between Damascus and Latakia.
 
Syria has committed to a "complete elimination" of its chemical weapons arsenal by June.
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