Last updated: 19 October, 2013

Russia calls US hopes to ship Syrian chemical arms premature

Russia said Saturday that a proposal by US Secretary of State John Kerry to remove Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons by ship was premature.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued the remarks in response to Kerry’s comment to National Public Radio on Thursday.

“My hope is that much of this material will be moved as rapidly (as) possibly into one location, and hopefully on a ship, and removed from the region,” Kerry said.

In a statement published on its website, the ministry said “experts are considering various options and technical ways to destroy the Syrian chemical weapons, including outside Syria.

“Considering that this work is not yet finished, in our view it is so far premature to talk about any specifics.”

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons must set out a detailed plan with a timetable for the destruction of the chemicals by November 15.

The OPCW is operating according to a Russian-US deal which says that Syria must destroy all its chemical weapons by the first half of next year.