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THE WORLD

Libyan Weapons Disclosure Lists 22 Tons of Mustard Gas

March 06, 2004|From Associated Press

THE HAGUE — Libya acknowledged stockpiling 44,000 pounds of mustard gas and disclosed the location of a production plant Friday in a declaration submitted to the world's chemical weapons watchdog.

Libyan Col. Mohammed abu Huda handed over 14 cartons of files describing his nation's chemical weapons programs to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said Director-General Rogelio Pfirter.

The Hague-based OPCW oversees compliance with the 1993 international treaty banning chemical weapons, which Libya joined last month.

Libya also declared thousands of tons of precursors that could be used to make sarin nerve gas and two storage facilities, Pfirter said. The production and storage facilities were near the capital, Tripoli, and in the country's southern region, he said.

The declaration was a major step in Libya's new program to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, a move it unexpectedly promised in December in the hope of ending its international isolation and restoring relations with the United States.

In addition to cooperating with the OPCW, Libya is working with inspectors from the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency to dismantle the nation's nuclear arms programs.

In the last week, Libya had taken the first concrete step to eliminate its stockpiles by destroying 3,300 bombs that were intended to carry chemical payloads.

With international inspectors monitoring the operation, bulldozers crushed the shell casings to complete the process, which ended Wednesday, the OPCW said.

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