Libya: Inspectors to check new chemical weapons

Last Updated: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 23:56

The Hague: The organization that oversees the
global ban on chemical weapons said on Friday it will work with
Libya`s new rulers to "verify and destroy" possible chemical
weapons hidden from international inspectors by Muammar Gaddafi`s regime.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
said in a statement that Libyan authorities informed it
earlier this week of suspected chemical weapons caches beyond
the stockpiles earlier declared by Gaddafi.

The organization known by its acronym OPCW also said it
has sent a team of inspectors to Libya for the first time
since February and they reported that none of Gaddafi`s known
chemical arsenal was plundered during the civil war that
toppled the former dictator.

The inspectors, "confirmed that the full stockpile of
undestroyed sulfur mustard and precursors remains in place,"
at a storage depot in southeastern Libya, the organization
said. "The inspectors also took further measures to ensure the
integrity of the stockpiles until destruction operations can
resume under OPCW verification."

It is not yet clear when the destruction will get under
way again.

Libya declared in 2004 it had 25 metric tons of sulfur
mustard and 1,400 metric tons of precursor chemicals used to
make chemical weapons. It also declared more than 3,500
unfilled aerial bombs designed for use with chemical warfare
agents such as sulfur mustard, and three chemical weapons
production facilities.

At that time, Gaddafi was trying to shed his image as an
international outcast and restore relations with Western
governments, pledging not only to dismantle his chemical
weapons program but also to abandon ambitions for Libya to
become a nuclear weapons power.

By February, when destruction was halted by a technical
breakdown, the country had destroyed 55 per cent of its
declared sulphur mustard and 40 per cent of the precursor
chemicals.

However, while Libya appeared to be complying with its
international obligation to destroy its entire stockpile, it
now appears that Gaddafi had other chemical weapons he never
declared.

PTI



First Published: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 23:56

comments powered by Disqus