Speaking to Parliament on Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague described the Syrian chemical weapons disposal efforts as "a strong example of international cooperation. Italy, the United States, Russia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland and China are all making important contributions."
Hague described the efforts of the United Kingdom concerning Syria, noting that Britain has given money to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, agreed to destroy some Syrian chemicals at commercial facilities in the UK, committed one of its naval ships to help transport chemical weapons, and promised equipment to bolster chemical weapons neutralization aboard the specially-outfitted American maritime vessel, the Cape Ray.
"A Royal Navy ship, HMS Montrose, is about to join the escort of the Danish and Norwegian vessels transporting the chemical stocks from Syria. My Rt Hon friend the Secretary of State for Defence has also informed the House today that we will provide specialist equipment for use onboard the US vessel which will neutralise the material after it has been removed from Syria."
Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander commented on the UK's contributions in the global effort to destroy Syrian chemical weapons, saying it "offers us a point of hope amidst the death and destruction still being witnessed in the country."
HMS Montrose Commander James Parkin expressed pride and readiness in their transport mission.
"Having already proven ourselves on operations in the Gulf over the past five months, we are honoured to be the UK unit allocated to assist in this vitally important job. My ship’s company are well-trained, well-motivated and well-equipped; all of us are looking forward to working for our Danish operational commander and alongside other allies in assisting the United Nations in their efforts to remove chemicals from Syria."
In September 2013, the U.S. and Russia submitted a proposal that was accepted by the OPCW that laid out the specific procedures for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons by mid-2014. OPCW and UN officials announced on January 7 that the first batch of Syrian chemical weapons had been removed from Syria.
[UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office] [BBC] [Plymouth Herald]