Gaddafi had undeclared chemical weapons stocks


Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had undeclared stockpiles of chemical weapons, inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have announced.

The inspectors said that they found sulphur mustard and artillery shells “which they determined are chemical munitions”. However, the shells were not filled with chemical warheads but were designed to be.
“They are not ready to use, because they are not loaded with agents,” OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said earlier this month.

Luhan said the chemical weapons found were only “a fraction” of what Gaddafi had disclosed in the past.

The newly confirmed chemical weapons are stored at the Ruwagha depot in south eastern Libya with chemical weapons that Gaddafi had declared to international authorities in 2004 when Libya joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. The discovery of the ordnance was disclosed to the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last year following Gaddafi’s departure from the Libyan government and his subsequent death.

Gaddafi renounced chemical, biological and nuclear weapons a decade ago as he sought to rebuild relations with the West and remove sanctions against Libya, which had been in place for decades as Gaddafi was seen as a terrorism supporter.

The former Libyan government declared 25 metric tons of bulk mustard agent and 1 400 metric tons of precursor chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the OPCW said.

It also declared more than 3 500 unfilled bombs designed for use with chemical warfare agents such as sulphur mustard and three chemical weapons production facilities.

Gaddafi’s government had succeeded in destroying 54% of its declared sulphur mustard and about 40% of the precursor chemicals before operations had to be suspended in February 2011 when the destruction facility stopped working.
“The inspectors returned at the invitation of the new Libyan government and with its full cooperation,” the OPCW said. “The OPCW will continue to work with the Libyan authorities to verify and destroy any newly declared stocks.”

Libya was to have completed destruction of its chemical weapons by April 29 of this year, but can no longer meet the deadline. The country’s new government now has until that date to file a plan and proposed completion date for destroying its entire chemical weapon stockpile