Conflict & Justice

Private firms vie for chance to destroy Syria's chemical weapons


An Albanian soldier closes the door of a container housing 100 tonnes of newly-repackaged hazardous chemical waste at the military base of Qafe Molle near the Albanian capital Tirana on November 20, 2013.



Dozens of private companies are reportedly vying for a contract to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has sought commercial firms to destroy Syria's arsenal after Albania backed out of an offer to dispose of them on its territory.

Last week, the chemical weapons' watchdog issued a notice asking for bids from private companies to deal with the chemicals.

The announcement listed 19 chemicals amounting to 1.8 million pounds to be destroyed.

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Many of the agents are common industrial chemicals and are considered harmless or safe to destroy.

The total cost for the work in disposing of or rendering the chemicals harmless was estimated at between $47 million to $54 million.

Finland's state-owned waste management company Ekokem told Reuters that it had put in a bid.

The Hague-based OPCW won the Nobel peace prize in October.

Plans for the destruction of Syria's chemical arsenal came after a US-Russia brokered deal last month.

The agreement was hammered out after Syria was alleged to have deployed chemical weapons in a rebel-held Damascus suburb killing hundreds.