Libya adopts Chemical Weapons Convention

Weapons inspectors have met with the Libyan government today as the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the country adopted last month, comes into force.

A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were in Tripoli today after Libya became the 159th State to join the convention. The move follows on from Colonel Qadhafi's commitment on December 19 to rid Libya of its illicit weapons programmes.

Libya acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention on 6 January and its provisions became binding on Libya with effect from today.

As part of its commitment, Libya has pledged to work with the OPCW and the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide the necessary information and access to verify it is no longer pursuing nuclear and chemical weapons programmes.

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons said: "I warmly congratulate Colonel Qadhafi, the government of Libya and the Libyan people. They have had the courage and vision to recognise that the developing, and stockpiling, of weapons of mass destruction runs counter to their national interest."

Baroness Symons said that Britain would, if requested, provide expertise and advice to help dismantle illegal weapons.

The Libyan government announced on 19 December that it had previously sought to develop WMD capabilities, and undertook to dismantle its WMD completely.


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