Germany to help destroy Syria's chemical weapons

Germany announced Thursday it will help destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said governments that have the ability to help in the disarmament program should chip in. 

"Therefore, we in the German government have decided not to shirk our responsibility and to make our contribution. That means getting rid of part of the chemical waste," Steinmeier said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

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"The German armed forces have the technical capacity to do this in [the city of] Munster," he added. 

The first batch of weapons left Syria on Tuesday, a week after the deadline set by the United Nations. They were supposed to have left the country by Dec. 31. On Tuesday, they were loaded onto a Danish cargo ship and shipped toward international waters.

The Obama administration applauded the transfer. 

“This represents continued progress toward the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons program," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. "Much more needs to be done."  

The announcements come about four months after President Obama threatened to launch a military strike against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that left more than 1,400 people dead.

Syria agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons after Russia helped broker a deal.