Danish prime minister says Syria should be pushed to speed up chemical weapons extraction

The Associated Press

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades looks on as Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning Schmidt speaks to the media aboard the Danish frigate HDMS Esbern Snare at the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Thorning-Schmidt visited the frigate which is part of a joint Danish-Norwegian operation tasked with ferrying Syria's chemical weapons out of the strife-torn country. (AP Photo/Press and Information Office)

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Denmark's prime minister says pressure must be put on Syria to speed up the removal of chemical weapons from the war-torn country.

According to a Cyprus government-issued transcript of her remarks, Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Wednesday she is "cautiously optimistic" that a timetable set for the removal of all the weapons can be met. But she said, "It's important that we put some pressure on the Syrians to live up to their part of the bargain."

Syria has missed several intermediate deadlines to have its chemical weapons eradicated, but says it would meet the final one of June 30.

Thorning-Schmidt spoke after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades aboard the Danish frigate HDMS Esbern Snare. The vessel is part of a Danish-Norwegian operation to ferry the weapons out of Syria.

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