Albanians Protest Proposal to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons

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Thousands of Albanians in the capital Tirana on Thursday demonstrated against the reported proposal for Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile to be destroyed in their country.

Chanting outside Parliament, the office of Prime Minister Edi Rama and the U.S. embassy, protesters expressed safety concerns and questioned whether the disposal would hurt tourism. Rama, who took office two months ago, said early this week that he discussed the possibility with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry but that no decision had yet been made.

“Our ‘Yes’ would be linked only to a plan and agreement that will make it clear to everyone that Albania will come out of this with its head held high, the richer for it and cleaner than it is today,” Rama said on Wednesday.

The Adriatic country, a member of NATO with 2.8 million people, was identified as a possible location in the Russia-U.S. deal to end Syria’s chemical weapons program by mid-2014 because it dismantled its own arsenal in 2004. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international watchdog that recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for years of related work, is overseeing the process.

[AP] [Al Jazeera]