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Nunn-Lugar program aiding in Syrian weapons destruction

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana had a role in the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.

The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program provided funds used to equip and operate the Cape Ray, a U.S. container ship that will neutralize the last of the toxic chemicals in the Mediterranean in coming months.

According to the U.S. Defense Department, it will be the first time the U.S. has destroyed chemical materials at sea.

Former Sens. Lugar, a Republican, and Sam Nunn, a Democrat from Georgia, authored legislation in 1991 that has since dismantled thousands of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Lugar and Nunn said Monday in a joint statement that the completion of the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons “is a significant accomplishment and an example of the kind of international partnerships needed to reduce the threats from weapons of mass destruction around the globe.”

They also called for continued cooperation with Russia on securing nuclear materials despite U.S.-Russian tensions about Ukraine and for further federal commitments to Cooperative Threat Reduction funding “at a level that allows for rapid and flexible responses to unfolding crises.”

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