Libya destroys chemical weapons from Gaddafi era

Libyan Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz (L) speaks, as U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones (R) looks on, during a press conference in Tripoli, Feb. 4, 2014.
Libya\’s foreign minister says the country has destroyed its last known stash of chemical weapons from the era of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Mohammed Abdelaziz told reporters Tuesday that U.S., Canadian and German experts had helped destroy the chemical weapons stockpile in a region of southern Libya.
"The destruction in the region of al-Rawagha was conducted with utmost precision," he said, without giving details.
Andrew Weber, the U.S. assistant defense secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, said that among the Libyan chemical stocks destroyed were 507 shells filled with mustard gas.
Abdelaziz said Libya is now totally free of chemical weapons that could pose a threat to Libyans, their neighbors, and the environment.
Western countries had been concerned that the weapons might fall into the hands of Islamist militants and regional militias as the North African state grapples with widespread disorder more than two years after the uprising that ousted Gadhafi.
Militia groups and armed tribesmen control parts of a vast OPEC-member country awash with arms where the Tripoli government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has struggled to enforce its authority much beyond the capital Tripoli.
Libya signed the international chemical weapons treaty in 2004 to improve relations with the West.
Its efforts to rid itself of such weapons was interrupted, however, in the uprising that led to the overthrow and death of Gadhafi in 2011.
Source: VOA and agencies
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