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Ships return to dock as Syria chemical deadline missed

Published on Dec 31, 2013 6:07 AM
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A Norwegian officer on deck on Dec 29, 2013, watching the cargo vessel Taiko, earmarked to transport chemical agents from war torn Syria. Disarmament teams returned Scandinavian escort vessels to port on Monday, Dec 30, 2013, as they accepted an end-of-year deadline for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons could no longer be met, a Norwegian spokesman said. -- PHOTO: AFP

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AFP) - Disarmament teams returned Scandinavian escort vessels to port Monday, Dec 30, 2013, as they accepted an end-of-year deadline for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons could no longer be met, a Norwegian spokesman said.

Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad was ordered back to port in the nearby island of Cyprus along with a Danish warship that had been deployed to escort the dangerous cargo to destruction under international supervision, spokesman Lars Hovtun said.

He gave no new date for the planned shipment.

"We are still on high alert to go into Syria," Mr Hovtun said. "We still don't know exactly when the orders will come." The international disarmament mission in Syria had acknowledged on Saturday that it was "unlikely" the weapons could be transported to the Syrian port of Latakia in time for the December 31 deadline set for the removal of key weapons components.

 
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