Norway rejects US proposal to destroy Syria's chemical arms
Norway on Friday declined a US request to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, saying it was not feasible.
"The reasons were the timeframe, technical facilities and other legal limitations," Foreign Minister Borge Brende said.
"We have agreed with the United States, which presented the proposal, that Norway can contribute in other areas... Our focus is now to find other means of contributing to the process."
Brende said Norway could provide personnel and additional financial support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international watchdog charged with dismantling Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
The OPCW began its work earlier this month under a UN resolution that backed a deal brokered by the United States and Russia to eliminate Syria’s chemical stockpile by mid-2014.
Media reports suggested Norway was asked to destroy 50 tons of mustard gas and between 300 and 500 tons of chemicals that could be used to make the nerve gas sarin.
Brende declined to speculate on which other countries could take on the task, but said he believed the United States was considering other options.
The deadline for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons production facilities is November 1.
Inspectors have visited 18 of the 23 disclosed sites in Syria and destroyed production equipment at most, the OPWC said.
In Syria, government soldiers killed at least 41 Islamist rebels in an ambush near the capital Damascus, reported the state-run news agency SANA.
The ambush in the vicinity of al-Otaiba Lake south east of the capital left 10 other rebels wounded, it said in a report.
The ambushed “terrorists” belonged to the jihadist groups, al-Nusra Front and a-Islam Brigade, added SANA.
State media uses the term “terrorists” to refer to rebels, fighting to oust the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A pro-opposition group reported that at least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in a car bombing north-west of Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast had occurred outside a mosque in the rebel-held Village of Wadi Barada, which is besieged by government troops.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria’s 31-month conflict, according to the United Nations.