Libya destroyed entire chemical arsenal

Feb 5, 2014 18:31 IST

Libya government announced on 5 February 2014 that it has destroyed its entire chemical arsenal. It was announced by the Foreign Minister of Libya, Mohammed Abdelaziz. The chemical arsenal destroyed included bombs and artillery shells filled with mustard gas.

Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that Libya has become totally free of usable chemical weapons that might present a potential threat to the security of local communities, the environment and neighbouring countries.

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Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited the city of al-Raogha to inspect the warehouse where Libya's largest outstanding stockpile of mustard gas was present. Libya still holds stocks of low-grade precursor chemicals but that programme has been put in place to destroy them by the end of 2016.

Since the OPCW covered only Gaddafi’s chemical weapons programme and it has not addressed the stocks of concentrated uranium or yellowcake that it acquired in its bid for a nuclear weapon.

Analysis

Gaddafi signed the chemical weapons convention and joined the OPCW in 2004. After Libya signed the treaty, Gaddafi’s regime claimed that they destroyed about 54 percent of its mustard gas stocks and about 40 percent of the chemicals used to manufacture the substance and 3500 bombs.

In 2011 a large stock of yellow cake was discovered at arms depot in southern city of Sebha. Since then the stock pile was secured in collaboration with International Atomic Energy Agency. The Centre for Strategic Studies asked the Libyan authorities to ensure the concentrated uranium will be used in industrial, agricultural development and in production of clean energy for the benefits of Libyans.

The process of disarmament was supervised by OPCW experts in 2012 and intensified in 2013 with the signing of a deal with Washington. There was concern that the stockpiles might not fall into the hands of ex-rebel militias.

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