A team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) yesterday (3 November) inspected Libya’s chemical weapons stockpiles for the first time since the toppling of the Gaddafi regime. In response to a request from the OPCW, Germany flew the inspectors to Libya on a Bundeswehr plane. The transportation was financed by the Federal Foreign Office.
In this connection Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (4 November) issued the following statement:
“A secure environment is crucial for successful democratic reconstruction in Libya. Every possible effort must be made to ensure that weapons scattered across the country do not fall into the wrong hands. This is especially true with regard to chemical weapons. The use of such weapons would pose a threat to the region and beyond. That is why we are supporting the National Transitional Council and the OPCW when it comes to inspecting and securing Libya’s chemical weapons.”
The aim of the inspection was to verify that Libya’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles are still intact and secure. Also, an initial delivery of first aid sets with protective equipment and decontamination units for the early resumption of the destruction of chemical weapons was made to Libyan authorities.
Germany is prepared, in coordination with the OPCW, to continue to help Libya meet its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, e.g. by providing logistical support for another inspection which might also cover undeclared chemical weapons.
Libya has been a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention since 2004. It declared chemical weapons in its initial notification to the OPCW and already began to destroy them while Gaddafi was in power. The National Transitional Council has assumed control of the declared, as yet undestroyed chemical warfare agents and has declared its intention to adhere to Libya’s obligation to destroy all chemical weapons and implement the Chemical Weapons Convention.