World

Belgium rules itself out as candidate to destroy Syria's chemical stockpiles

  • File - This file image provided by Shaam News Network on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, purports to show dead bodies after an attack on Ghouta, Syria on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. The tiny and impoverished Balkan nation of Albania was emerging Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 as a likely location for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was discussing a plan to destroy its estimated 1,000-metric-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin. Syria says it wants the weapons destroyed outside the country and the OPCW has described that as the "most viable" option.(AP Photo/Shaam News Network, File)

    File - This file image provided by Shaam News Network on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, purports to show dead bodies after an attack on Ghouta, Syria on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. The tiny and impoverished Balkan nation of Albania was emerging Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 as a likely location for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was discussing a plan to destroy its estimated 1,000-metric-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin. Syria says it wants the weapons destroyed outside the country and the OPCW has described that as the "most viable" option.(AP Photo/Shaam News Network, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Aug. 21, 2013, citizen journalism image provided by the Media Office Of Douma City which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man mourning over a dead body after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forces, according to activists, in Douma town, Damascus, Syria. The tiny and impoverished Balkan nation of Albania was emerging Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 as a likely location for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was discussing a plan to destroy its estimated 1,000-metric-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin. Syria says it wants the weapons destroyed outside the country and the OPCW has described that as the "most viable" option.(AP Photo/Media Office Of Douma City, File)

    FILE - This Aug. 21, 2013, citizen journalism image provided by the Media Office Of Douma City which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man mourning over a dead body after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forces, according to activists, in Douma town, Damascus, Syria. The tiny and impoverished Balkan nation of Albania was emerging Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 as a likely location for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was discussing a plan to destroy its estimated 1,000-metric-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin. Syria says it wants the weapons destroyed outside the country and the OPCW has described that as the "most viable" option.(AP Photo/Media Office Of Douma City, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thousands of Albanians in Tirana, Friday Nov. 15, 2013, greet the announcement by Prime Minister Edi Rama saying he turned down a request by the United States to be part of an operation to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, under the supervision of international experts. Albania, a NATO member, was seen as a possible choice since it recently destroyed its own poison gas arsenal. (AP Photo/Hektor Pusina)

    Thousands of Albanians in Tirana, Friday Nov. 15, 2013, greet the announcement by Prime Minister Edi Rama saying he turned down a request by the United States to be part of an operation to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, under the supervision of international experts. Albania, a NATO member, was seen as a possible choice since it recently destroyed its own poison gas arsenal. (AP Photo/Hektor Pusina)  (The Associated Press)

Belgium has ruled itself out as a candidate to destroy Syria's poison gas stockpile and says it would prefer the arsenal to be eradicated close to Syria itself.

Defense Minister Pieter De Crem said Monday that "the movement of those weapons is a tough enough task in itself" and crossed out Belgium as a possible destination.

After Albania refused to take on the task Friday, Belgium had been considered a possible candidate, if only because it has a long history of destroying the gas arsenal from World War I.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has adopted a plan to destroy Damascus's estimated 1,300-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and sarin, outside Syria, but has yet to find a country willing to host the risky operation.