UK to help United States destroy Syrian chemical weapons faster

LONDON Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:00pm GMT

Britain's Defence Secretary Philip Hammond leaves after attending a Cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street in London March 12, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Britain's Defence Secretary Philip Hammond leaves after attending a Cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street in London March 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it planned to give the United States specialist equipment and training to help it destroy Syria's chemical weapons arsenal more quickly.

Part of Syria's chemical stockpile is due to be destroyed on board a specially adapted U.S. ship under an international accord engineered by Russia in the wake of a poison gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus that killed hundreds, including children, last August.

Defence Minister Philip Hammond said in a written statement to parliament on Monday his country planned to gift equipment to the United States worth around 2.5 million pounds that would allow the chemicals to be processed at a higher rate.

"The U.S. approached the UK to support this primary activity from our domestic industry as they would not have been able to procure the device themselves within the timeframes set," Hammond said.

(Reporting by William James and Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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