Dozens of firms interested in destroying Syrian chemicals: OPCW sources

Reuters

By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - More than two dozen companies have expressed interest in destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, sources at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told Reuters on Friday.

The global chemical weapons watchdog is seeking commercial firms to destroy toxins from Syria's poison gas arsenal, and is trying to find a Mediterranean port where the deadliest can be processed offshore after Albania abruptly backed out of its offer to have it done on its territory.

Last week the OPCW asked companies to indicate whether they could destroy nearly 800 metric tons (about 882 tons) of chemicals and 7.7 million liters of effluent, or liquid waste, and set a deadline of November 29 for expressions of interest.

The sources did not reveal which companies had expressed an interest, but Timo Piekkari, chief executive at Finland's state-owned Ekokem, said his firm had done so.

"We have expressed our interest to bid on some of the chemicals in the list ... that are pretty similar to what we regularly handle," Piekkari told Reuters.

The Hague-based OPCW, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, has been given the task of destroying Syria's chemical weapons stocks under an agreement which averted U.S. missile strikes.

(Additional reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Sara Webb and Andrew Roche)

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