AMSTERDAM Jan 20 The global chemical weapons
watchdog said on Monday it had received 14 tenders from
companies including in America, Europe and China, offering to
destroy part of Syria's toxic stockpile.
The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW), tasked with overseeing the destruction process,
has earmarked up to 40 million euros ($54 million) for the
commercial processing of 500 metric tonnes of industrial
chemicals and millions of litres of toxic waste.
The companies are Airbus Defense & Space, Séché-Environment
Group < CCHE.PA> and Veolia of France, Augean Plc
and Remondis of the United Kingdom, China National
Chemical Corporation, Vector LLC of Russia,
Switzerland's Dottikon AG, EkoKem AB of Finland, Saudi
Arabia's Pan Gulf Industrial Systems, SITA Iberica of Spain,
Verein of Germany, Indaver of Belgium and America's InnoSepra,
Paragon Waste Solutions and TM Deer Park Services. Verein,
Veolia, Remondis and Indaver are working together in a temporary
association, the OPCW said.
Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention last year and
is on a tight deadline to destroy its entire declared stockpile
of 1,300 metric tonnes of toxic agents by mid-2014.
The bulk industrial chemicals will be sent to commercial
incinerators, while a smaller portion of more deadly toxins will
be destroyed on a specially-outfitted American ship.
Chemical weapons were likely used in five out of seven
attacks investigated by U.N. experts in Syria, where civil war
has killed more than 100,000 people.
The most serious was on Aug. 21, when hundreds of people
died in a sarin gas attack in the outskirts of Damascus. The
agreement to destroy Syria's chemical weapons averted a possible
missile strike by the United States.
The OPCW, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, has
said it expects to select the companies and complete the tender
process by the end of January.