The German foreign ministry has confirmed it is considering participating in destroying Syrian chemical weapons in the Mediterranean Sea. Berlin had previously volunteered to destroy some of the weapons on German soil.
The German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, may be facing a new foreign assignment - the German foreign office confirmed Wednesday that it is considering participating in the planned destruction of Syrian chemical weapons on a US ship in the Mediterranean.
The German navy may participate by providing security to the American ship where the destruction will take place.
Berlin had already offered to destroy Syrian chemical weapons on German soil, which would take place at a state-owned company in Munster, Lower Saxony.
"We are involved in these tests," ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said on Wednesday confirmed a report by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR ). Schäfer did not however give details on the amount or the possible start of the new operation saying it was still at a "very early stage.”
According to a United Nations mandate, the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad must destroy all chemical warfare agents by June 2014. However, the removal of toxic substances - including sarin and mustard gas - has been slow going, with the government missing two key deadlines. Assad's regime has said it remains committed to the June deadline, but that security problems related to the ongoing conflict were causing delays.
Final day of Homs ceasefire
Peace talks between the two warring parties continued in Geneva on Wednesday, but little progress has been made. They came even as warplanes bombed the rebel-held town of Yabroud, near Syria's border to Lebanon.
Yabroud lies on the Damascus highway and around 100 km (62 miles) south of Homs, where evacuations re-started on Wednesday. A tense ceasefire between government and rebel forces to allow aid in and civilians out of the city ends at midnight on Wednesday, although Homs governor Talal al-Barazi has raised the prospect of a extension.
hc, ph/jm (dpa, AFP, AP)