By Jamie Prentis,
Tunis, 12 January 2018:
The White House has been among those to congratulate Libya on the complete destruction of Qaddafi-era chemical weapons and their precursors following a ceremony to mark the occasion yesterday.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) verified the complete destruction of these materials in Germany on 23 November 2017.
Approximately 500 tonnes of Category 2 chemical agents were removed from Libya in 2016 and moved to Germany. Category 2 refers to toxic materials that pose a “significant risk.” Libya’s previous Category 1 and 3 chemicals have already been eliminated.
At the ceremony in Germany yesterday OPCW chief Ahmet Üzümcü said “today’s event marks a historic occasion for disarmament and international security. It heralds the end of Libya’s chemical demilitarisation process”.
The Presidency Council’s foreign minister Mohamed Siala said Libya had sought to rid itself of chemical weapons to prevent the possibility of them falling into the hands of dangerous groups operating outside of the government.
A short White House statement said “the United States congratulates Libya for destroying the last remnants of its Qaddafi-era chemical weapons stockpile and satisfying its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
The recently destroyed precursor agents left Libya in August 2016 aboard a Danish vessel headed for Germany. The UN had earlier authorised number of member states to help in the elimination of Libya’s last remaining stockpile.
In September 2014 Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni practically begged the international community for help over fears that dangerous chemicals could fall in the hands of terrorist groups.
Since 2011 Libya has been subject to an arms embargo, something that many Libyan political figures, including Hafter and Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj, have asked to be lifted.