Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Defence Minister von der Leyen on the destruction of the remnant precursors of Libya’s chemical weapons programme in Germany

09.09.2016 - Press release

Germany is helping to destroy the last stockpiles of chemicals from Libya’s chemical weapons programme. The chemicals will be destroyed in Munster in the coming months.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (9 September):

“Germany is taking concrete steps with the international community and a large number of partners to help the Libyan Government of National Accord to render the last stockpiles of Libya’s chemical weapons programme harmless and to dispose of them in an environmentally safe manner.We need to prevent toxic chemicals from falling into the wrong hands. In doing so, our aim is to improve security in Germany, Europe and, of course, Libya.”

Defence Minister von der Leyen issued the following statement today (9 September):

“I am pleased that once again the Bundeswehr is able to help destroy chemicals that can be turned into dangerous warfare agents. GEKA has the necessary expertise and practical experience. This is a small, but very tangible contribution by Germany as regards improving the security situation in a country that is struggling to achieve order and stability.”

Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), expressed high appreciation for Germany’s contribution in making available the GEKA facility to destroy the remnant precursors of Libya’s former chemical weapons programme and stated:

“Germany has once again demonstrated its commitment to the OPCW’s goal of eliminating chemical weapons worldwide.”

The German Government commented as follows:

“We already provided extensive support to Libya in the past in destroying its chemical weapons stockpiles. In this case, too, it was only possible to provide this support by working closely with international friends and partners. The global non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains an important goal of Germany’s disarmament and arms control policy.”

Background information:

Over the coming months, 500 tonnes of toxic dual-use chemicals will be destroyed and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner in Germany. The chemicals date back to the Gaddafi era and must be disposed of in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. This work will be carried out once again in Munster by the state-owned company GEKA, which is responsible for disposing of chemical warfare agents and has long-standing expertise in this field.

Libya had requested assistance from the international community for the destruction of these chemicals. In response, both the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations Security Council decided to grant Libya the required assistance. The United States provided significant financial support and Denmark transported the chemicals from Libya to Germany. Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Malta and Spain also contributed to the success of the mission.

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