Croatia mulls Syrian chemical weapons destruction

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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) - Croatia is considering taking part in the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, but only if there is no opposition from the public, the Adriatic country's prime minister said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said there are "consultations" throughout the Mediterranean states about Syrian weapons possibly being shipped to one of their ports before being reloaded and destroyed by the U.S. military, "probably somewhere in the Atlantic."

Washington has offered to provide a ship carrying a device in which the chemicals can be neutralized under a plan proposed by the international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. No chemicals or waste products would be dumped at sea under the plan being finalized by the OPCW.

Milanovic called for a "public debate" over the possible reloading project.

"We can take part in the noble project, or we don't have to," Milanovic said. "But the Croatian public has to know what it's all about."

Under a threat of public unrest, Albania last month refused a U.S. request to host the destruction of Syria's chemical arsenal, a serious blow to efforts to destroy that stockpile by mid-2014.

The U.N. agreed on the disarmament plan following a chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb in August that killed hundreds of people.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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