Demonstrations took place today in Tirana, Albania against the plan to destroy the Syrian chemical weapons in the country.
While countries around have declined the offer to destroy the chemicals, when Washington asked Prime Minister Edi Rama to take the chemicals, he was quick to accept. Even though Albania’s Foreign Minister, Ditmir Bushati had told the French media last month that no decision had been made.
Albania has a bad record when it comes to destroying it’s own chemical weapons and environment groups have told that the taking Syria’s stockpile could spell disaster.
Albania’s chemical weapons stockpile was discovered by chance in an abandoned bunker in December 2002. It’s believed to have been imported from China in the mid-1970s by the regime of former Albanian Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, although no documentation was ever found.
According to US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, the containers had to be repackaged after they started to leak hazardous materials in 2008. Plans to construct a hazardous-storage site with the help of the European Union were never completed.
“Albania’s legal framework leaves no loopholes for the import of chemical weapons and the Albanian state is not able to guarantee the success of a highly dangerous technological process of this kind,” it added.
An explosion in a former army barrack in the village of Gerdec outside Tirana, where old artillery shells were being disposed, killed 26 people and wounded more than 300.
“We not only failed in Gerdec, but we failed with massive human and economic cost,” Merkoci said. “We should really think twice before we take any further steps despite any help that might come from the international community.”