Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel stated in Berlin on Wednesday that her country has ruled out destroying Syria’s chemical weapons within its borders, saying: “I will not destroy chemical weapons in Germany,” referring to speculation that Germany might have been changing its policy on this issue.
It is expected that Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal will be transferred outside of Syria to be destroyed by spring 2014, but there is no agreement yet on the sites where the weapons, estimated to be thousands of tons worth, will be destroyed. Germany has offered to contribute financial, logistical and technical support to destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
Following her meeting with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Merkel reiterated Germany’s superior capabilities in this area, saying that Germany will indeed contribute to the international efforts “to get rid of these weapons”. But the Chancellor insisted that the weapons will not be destroyed in German facilities; for example the facility specialized in burning combat tools in Munster City in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia State.
Merkel made her comments in response to her foreign policy adviser, Christoph Heugsen, who did not rule out such a possibility.
Heugsen had remarked during a Konrad Adenauer Foundation forum that: “Who said we are not considering disposing certain chemical products in Germany? Are there not German companies which can do something like that? It is not at all unlikely that Germany will contribute to that.”
Germany’s Left Party praised Heugsen’s comments and described them as a change in the Chancellor’s policy to make a positive contribution to solving the Syrian conflict.
Meanwhile, Germany’s government spokesperson Steffan Seibert stated that “it is unlikely for us to get rid of the Syrian chemical weapons in Germany.”