WASHINGTON, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Teams aboard the US ship MV Cape Ray have finished neutralizing materials from Syria's declared chemical stockpile, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Monday.
“This morning, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Navy Captain Rich Dromerhauser aboard the US ship MV Cape Ray to congratulate the ship's crew on finishing their unprecedented work of neutralizing, at sea, the most dangerous chemicals in Syria's declared stockpile,” Kirby said.
Hagel called the work of the crew aboard Cape Ray an important and enduring contribution to global security, according to Kirby.
“While the international community's work to completely eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program is not yet finished, the secretary believes this is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when diplomacy is backed by a willingness to use military force,” the Pentagon representative said.
A week ago, Pentagon reported that military and civil experts on board of the MV Cape Ray successfully destroyed the entire stockpile of deadly sarin gas shipped out of Syria and that the teams were working to neutralize some 20 tons of chemical materials used to make sulfur mustard, another lethal gas, commonly referred to as mustard gas.
In October 2013, Syria agreed to Russia’s proposal to hand over its chemical arsenal. Some 1,300 tons of chemical weapons agents were transferred to international ships to be destroyed under the agreement. In return, the United States scrapped its plans of an airstrike against the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, who Washington accused of using chemical weapons against civilians.
The destruction of the chemicals aboard the Cape Ray began on July 7 under the aegis of UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Two shipboard field deployable hydrolysis systems on the American ship transformed the material into low-level hazardous industrial waste. The byproducts will be processed by facilities in the United Kingdom, the United States and Finland.