Libya’s last chemical arms reach German destruction plant

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, September 12, 2016
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Libya’s last chemical weapons stocks have arrived safely in Germany after being shipped out of the country, and will now be prepared for destruction, a global watchdog said Thursday.

“Another crucial step has been taken toward eliminating Libya’s remaining chemical weapon precursors,” Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement.

The stocks, including 23 tanks of chemicals, were shipped out on a Danish vessel on August 30 from the Libyan port of Misrata, under the supervision of the United Nations.

It was a multi-nation maritime operation led by Denmark, and Uzumcu said the remaining “chemicals arrived safely and securely at the specialised destruction facility in Munster”.

The destruction of some 500 tonnes of toxic chemical products by GEKA, Germany’s state-owned company for disposing of chemical weapons, will be the last phase of the operation to rid the unstable north African country of its stockpile.

The stocks had been stored in the central Jafa area, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Sirte where Libyan pro-government forces are battling jihadists from the so-called Islamic State group.

The removal of the dangerous weapons precursors eases fears that extremists like IS could gain access to the weapons in Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.

“These chemical weapon precursors have not been weaponised and now they never will be by anyone,” the OPCW said in a statement Thursday.

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