CHEMICAL WATCHDOG TO RECEIVE NOBEL

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OSLO: When the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Tuesday its staff will be preparing to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

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In naming the OPCW as the 2013 peace laureate on October 11, the Norwegian Nobel Committee highlighted the organization’s role as a rare example of successful global disarmament.

The chemical watchdog was officially given the prize for its efforts around the world, but the award came at a time when all eyes were on Syria after a nerve gas attack killed hundreds on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21.

OPCW Director Ahmet Uzumcu will be handed the award just weeks before a plan to destroy Damascus’ chemical weapons stockpile gets under way.

According to a United States-Russia deal that headed off possible US military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Syria is to get rid of its arsenal of 1,290 tons of chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The most lethal components are to be moved out of Syria before December 31 to be destroyed aboard the US Navy’s MV Cape Ray, a 200-meter cargo ship equipped with two hydrolysis systems.

AFP

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