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Chemical Weapons

WORLD
November 15, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON - Albania on Friday rejected the United States' request to allow Syria's chemical weapons to be destroyed on its soil, dealing a blow to the international effort to dismantle President Bashar Assad's toxic arsenal. The decision by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama came after several days of protests in the small Balkan nation, where activists have opposed taking in Syria's chemical weapons because of environmental and security concerns. The international watchdog agency spearheading the disarmament effort has called for the weapons to be destroyed outside Syria, which is in the midst of a grinding civil war, but no country has volunteered to host the effort.
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WORLD
November 10, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON - For years, when the United States has needed to hand off a dirty diplomatic chore, one obscure nation has reliably raised its hand: Albania. A poor sliver of a country clinging to the edge of Europe, Albania took in ethnic Uighur prisoners from Guantanamo Bay when the United States couldn't repatriate them to China. It offered asylum to 210 members of the Mujahedin Khalq, the Iranian dissident group long confined to a camp in Iraq. Now the United States is turning to Albania again, hoping it will allow Syria's chemical weapons to be destroyed on its soil.
WORLD
October 27, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
GAZIANTEP, Turkey - The Syrian government has met an international deadline to submit a detailed declaration of its chemical weapons facilities and a plan to destroy the nation's toxic arsenal, the group overseeing the disarmament process said Sunday. Syria had until Sunday to present its declaration and the related proposal for destruction to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague-based organization supervising the elimination of Syria's chemical stockpiles.
WORLD
October 26, 2013 | By Paul Richter and Sergei L. Loiko
WASHINGTON - As the U.S. presses for a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, it is getting help from an unlikely ally: Russia. Relations between the two countries have tumbled to a low point this year because of a dispute over Moscow's decision to grant temporary asylum to former National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden and long-standing friction between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Analysts say neither side views repairing the overall relationship as a top priority.
WORLD
October 23, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON - International inspectors expect to destroy Syria's ability to produce new chemical weapons by Nov. 1, the first major deadline in the United Nations-ordered disarmament of Syria's chemical arsenal, officials said Wednesday. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the watchdog group overseeing the disarmament, said equipment used to produce or mix toxic gases and nerve agents has been destroyed at almost all of the declared facilities in Syria. OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said Syrian authorities continued to provide "complete" cooperation to its team of 27 inspectors, and that the group was confident of achieving the first major milestone in the disarmament plan before the deadline.
WORLD
October 23, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON -- International inspectors expect to destroy Syria's ability to produce new chemical weapons by Nov. 1, the first major deadline in the United Nations-ordered disarmament of the country's entire chemical arsenal, officials said Wednesday. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the watchdog group overseeing the disarmament effort, said equipment used to produce or mix toxic gases and nerve agents has been destroyed at almost all of the declared facilities inside Syria.
WORLD
October 22, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - A key group of Arab states and Western nations, including the United States, urged the “moderate opposition” in Syria to attend peace talks aimed at ending the country's civil war, but underlined their insistence that Syrian President Bashar Assad could have no role in any new government formed as a result. “It is imperative that we try to get to the negotiating table and try to save the lives and save the existence of the state of Syria itself. The only alternative to a negotiated settlement is continued, if not increased, killing,” U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.
OPINION
October 18, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Barack Obama came to office in 2009 promising a new era of diplomacy and engagement after the confrontational "axis of evil" approach of the George W. Bush administration. During his campaign, Obama said he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba and Syria "without preconditions. " "I would," he said. "And the reason is this: that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding principle of this administration, is ridiculous.
WORLD
October 18, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
A day after the United Nations elected Saudi Arabia to a prestigious seat on the Security Council, the Saudi leadership refused to accept the position and lashed out at the world body for "double standards" and failure to protect peace. It was a stunning and unprecedented rebuke of the U.N. Security Council, diplomats and academics said, especially after the recent breakthrough in getting the unanimous approval of the 15-member council on a plan to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
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