Following the Chemical attack in Damascus on August 21st the UN ordered the Syrian government to destroy all of its chemical weapons and to dismantle facilities that had the capacity to produce chemical weapons by mid-2014. One of the countries that asked to participate was Norway. Norway was nominated because it is a politically stable country, has the available finances to fund the program and it has the ample water resources needed to destroy the 50 metric tons of mustard gas and 300 to 500 metric tons of materials needed to make the chemical agents. Norway however, declined the offer. The foreign affairs minister, Boerge Brende, said that Norway lacked the equipment to undertake such a task and was forbidden by law to store the chemical waste that would come as a result of destroying the equipment. Mr. Brende also continued on to say that the deadline of mid 2014 was to close for a country that had no previous experience when it came to dealing with chemical weapons. Norwegian authorities also reported that they had not been able to identify a port that could receive the chemical weapons and its corresponding toxic substances. Ms. Solberg, the current Norwegian Prime minister, said that its decision to not participate in the program was not “not negative to something the U.N. believes is important.” But more due to the fact that the country had no previous experience in dealing with chemical weapons.
For the U.N. this most likely isn't the answer they wanted to hear; however, I'm sure Norway took into great consideration to the pros and cons of the situation at hand. In a way what we've talked about in class this week can apply here. Norway knowing that it would be a key component to destroying Syria's chemical weapons, most likely took into consideration that its country could not take on such a great responsibility in fear of the "what ifs" and what a responsibility like this could do to their country and how it could possibly affect its citizens. However, in the U.N.'s eyes this is probably a low blow, but they need to understand that Norway is protecting itself from potential harm. I wouldn't think that any harm could be caused in this process, but we never know what could happen or what an accident during this process might cost Norway and its people. If something did happen we wouldn't be able to say that it would be a short term issue, one small issue could lead to a bigger issue that could bring down what good Norway has built up. Now its up to the U.N. to recognize this and to just try and find another country similar to Norway's abilities and try and see if they'll follow through with the process to rid Syria of it's chemical weapons.