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NATO urges Libyan regime to destroy chemical weapons

NATO confirms that Libya's National Transition Council controls the country's chemical weapons, express confidence they'll be destroyed

AFP , Tuesday 27 Sep 2011
Libya's National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdul-Jalil in a press conference in July, (AP).

NATO urged Libya's new regime on Tuesday to make plans to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons and nuclear-related agents amassed by ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"NATO is pleased to note that the National Transitional Council (NTC ) is now controlling facilities containing Libya's remaining stockpiles of chemical and nuclear-related agents," said Colonel Roland Lavoie, spokesman of NATO's Libya mission.

The facilities were in the south and centre of the vast desert country, Lavoie told a news briefing via videolink from NATO operational headquarters in Naples, Italy.

He said NATO was confident allies and international organizations in contact with the NTC are "working to ensure" that the new authorities "start planning for their safe disposal."

NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Saturday that "banned weapons" were under their control. "We will call for Libyan technicians and the international community to get rid of these weapons safely," Jalil said.

The United States said last month that stockpiles of mustard agents and uranium yellowcake were secure, and that a US envoy was speaking with the NTC about their plans to assume control of facilities housing them.

Gaddafi renounced weapons of mass destruction in December 2003 as part of efforts to shed his pariah status.

Gaddafi joined the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2004, but still needed to eliminate 11.25 tons of mustard gas when the uprising to remove him from power began in February.

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