Libya's Category 1 chemical weapons 'safely destroyed'

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Libya's Category 1 chemical weapons 'safely destroyed'

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Libya has destroyed its chemical weapons, including bombs and artillery shells filled with mustard gas, according to the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz.

“We are very happy that the operation to destroy chemical weapons in Libya was carried out in a professional way and finished without any harm to the environment or the area where the weapons were stored,” he confirmed.

Ten years ago, under Colonel Gaddafi’s rule, Libya signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, committing itself to ridding the country of chemical arms.

Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu visited the site in Ruwagha where the weapons were destroyed.

He drew comparisons with Syria’s programme for destroying chemical weapons, calling the Libyan operation a “good example of international co-operation now emulated in Syria on a larger scale.”

“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,” Uzumcu added. “I believe this is a significant milestone on the road to Libya becoming entirely free of chemical weapons.”

According to the OPCW, Libya’s Category 2 chemical precursors must be destroyed by December 2016.

The operation is an international effort, with technical support being offered by Canada, Germany and the US.