MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will donate up to $2 million to the international effort to dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons, a Russian deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.
Russia is among many countries assisting the disarmament effort in Syria, conducted by a team of experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“Russia has made a hefty contribution to this effort. Russia’s military transport aviation delivered 75 trucks [to Syria]. We have also allocated funds of up to $2 million that would soon be transferred to the United Nations,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Voice of Russia radio station.
He said that Moscow would also host a meeting on Friday to coordinate the effort. The meeting is expected to gather experts from the United States, Syria, the UN and the OPCW.
The operation to destroy the Syria government’s arsenal of more than 1,000 metric tons of weapons-grade chemicals is due to take place in two stages.
The most dangerous weapons have to be removed from Syria by the end of December and destroyed at sea by April, the rest is slated for destruction by mid-2014.
Moscow said last week that it was also ready to provide security for cargo operations at the port of Latakia and in Syrian territorial waters while weapons stocks are transferred to a US navy ship that will neutralize the chemicals.