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Albania refuses US support for destroying Syria's chemical weapons

January 30, 2014 at 10:00 am

Albania has refused financial and technical support from the US to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons on its territory.

Albania recently destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons due to an explosion in a munitions factory outside Tirana, which destroyed the entire village killing 26 people and injuring more than 300.

Albanian opponents say that their country is not a dustbin for the US and Europe and consider the US offer unacceptable.

Protests that took place in Tirana and across Albanian cities and towns have succeeded in preventing the government from accepting the US offer, an outcome that observers are calling “unprecedented” in a country that has been struggling to transition to democracy since the fall of the communist regime in 1991. Albanians believe the success of the protests could stimulate more political work in a country that has not yet completed its democratic path and which has a long history of authoritarian rule. An Albanian opponent told the Christian Science Monitor that he no longer feels like he has to say “yes to everything without knowing why. But I do not think this will turn into hostility towards the US,” he added. “The fact that we look to the US as a model of democracy will not change.”

This small and poor Balkan country has complicated international efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by refusing, despite being a strong ally of Washington, a request from the US to destroy Syria’s weapons on its territory.