5 February 2014

Libya: All Chemical Weapons Destroyed

Photo: Wikipedia
Pallets of 155 mm artillery shells at a chemical weapons storage facility.

Libya's foreign minister announced that the country has destroyed its last known chemical weapons from the era of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Mohammed Abdelaziz said Tuesday that Libya is now totally free of chemical weapons that could pose a threat to Libyans, their neighbours and the environment.

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu, visited the site in Libya where the arms were destroyed, and called the operation a "major undertaking."

"All Category 1 munitions which were declared by Libya in February 2012 have been destroyed. There are some residuals which remain and Category 2 weapons which remain and we are confident that they will be destroyed also in due course. I believe this is a significant milestone on the road to Libya becoming entirely free of chemical weapons," said Uzumcu.

The Category 2 chemicals are what are known as precursors, used to make the weapons. They are due to be destroyed by the end of 2016.

Libya signed the international chemical weapons treaty in 2004, and spent years destroying its stockpile before halting the operation in 2010. A new interim government that followed Gadhafi's overthrow declared more weapons had been discovered, and the destruction began again last year.

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