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Libya destroys last of its Gaddafi-era chemical weapons

Chemical weapon [cma.army.mil/Wikipedia]

The international community has praised Libya for destroying the last of its chemical weapons from the Gaddafi-era following a ceremony to mark the occasion over the weekend.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the complete destruction of these materials in Germany which took place on 23 November 2017.

Approximately 500 tonnes of Category 2 chemical agents, labelled as “significant risk”, were reportedly removed from Libya in 2016 and moved to Germany – Libya’s Category 1 and 3 chemicals were previously destroyed.

“Today’s event marks a historic occasion for disarmament and international security. It heralds the end of Libya’s chemical demilitarisation process,” OPCW chief, Ahmet Uzumcu, said at the ceremony held in Germany on Saturday.

Read: Armed group clashes shut airport in Libya capital

According to the Presidency Council’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Siala, Libya destroyed its chemical weapons in order to prevent the likelihood of them falling into the hands of vigilante groups in the country after long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown.

The White House released a statement congratulating “Libya for destroying the last remnants of its Qaddafi-era chemical weapons stockpile and satisfying its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

The chemical weapons left Libya in August 2016 aboard a Danish vessel to Germany after the UN authorised the elimination of Libya’s last remaining stockpile. In September 2014, Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni pressured the international community for help over the dangerous chemicals fearing it would fall in the hands of terrorists.

Libya has been subjected to an arms embargo since the uprising in 2011 after militant groups along with Daesh gained prominence. PC head Fayez Al-Sarraj along with rival leader Khalifa Haftar have since called on the UN to lift the embargo.

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