September 19, 2013 - 15:08 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Germany said it's giving 2 million euros ($2.7 million) to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to help it oversee the destruction of Syria's arms stocks, the Associated Press reported.
An agreement last week between Russia and the U.S. called for an inventory of Syria's chemical weapons within a week, and for all components of the program to be out of the country or destroyed by mid-2014. The Hague, Netherlands-based OPCW will have to oversee that process.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had offered technical or financial support to help destroy the weapons. On Thursday, Sept 19, he said Berlin has decided to contribute extra funding so that the chemical weapons watchdog can "deal with the Herculean task."
President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday it would cost about $1 billion to get rid of Syria's chemical weapons under a U.S.-Russian deal reached last week, according to Reuters.
In an interview on the Fox News television channel, Assad said his government would dispose of its chemical weapons arsenal and it would take about a year, Assad said.
"I think it is a very complicated operation technically and it needs a lot, a lot of money. Some estimated about a billion for the Syrian stockpile," he said.
Asked whether he would be willing to hand over chemical weapons to the U.S. government, Assad said: "As I said, it needs a lot of money. It needs about 1 billion. It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don't they do it?"
Assad denied that his forces were responsible for a chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, outside Damascus, on Aug 21 that brought the United States close to attacking Syria in response.
He said the Syrian army was advancing in the area at the time and had no need to fire rockets filled with the nerve agent sarin, as the United States says it did.
"The whole story doesn't even hold together. It's not realistic. So, no, we didn't. In one word, we didn't use any chemical weapons in Ghouta," he said.