UK to destroy Syrian arms chemicals

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iol pic wld Syria Chemical Weapons AP In this photo taken from aboard the Danish warship "Esbern Snare", as in the background the containers containing Syria's dangerous chemical weapons, on the Danish cargo ship, Ark Futura, transporting the chemical weapons out of the strife-torn country, in Cyprus coastal waters. Picture: Petros Karadjias

London - Britain said on Wednesday it would destroy a further 50 tons of material from Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, taking the total amount it has agreed to process to 200 tons.

Facing the threat of US air strikes, Bashar al-Assad's government last year promised to dismantle its chemical arsenal, telling the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) it had 1 300 tons of such weapons.

Britain had previously agreed to accept 150 tons of Syrian poison gas precursors for destruction by French firm Veolia Environnement in northern England.

“A further 50 tons of the industrial chemicals hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride will also be destroyed in specialised commercial facilities in the UK,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a written statement to parliament.

Hague said a ship carrying the chemicals was expected to arrive in Britain next week.

Foreign powers have scrambled to find countries to destroy the chemicals. The most toxic are first being processed on board a US ship. Less dangerous precursor chemicals are being destroyed commercially at industrial facilities. - Reuters

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