US welcomes destruction of Libya chemical stockpiles

White House hails 'important achievement' in effort to halt spread of WMD

US welcomes destruction of Libya chemical stockpiles

World Bulletin / News Desk

The White House on Thursday welcomed the elimination of the final remnants of Libya's chemical weapons arsenal.

"Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction - the final steps of an international effort to remove from Libya and destroy nearly 500 metric tons of chemical weapons precursors," National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The war-torn country's UN-brokered national unity government asked for help in removing the chemicals in July, prompting an international response involving half a dozen countries.

The maritime transport operation was led by Denmark, which offered ships that picked up the final batch Aug .27 at the port of Misrata for destruction in Germany.

The U.S., which organized the international effort, recognized the United Kingdom, Canada, and Finland for their assistance, as well as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The effort in Libya follows a similar process in Syria, where a chemical weapons arsenal belonging to the regime of Bashar al-Assad was dismantled in 2013 and 2014.

The OPCW won a Nobel Prize in 2013 for its contributions.

A UN-sponsored investigative group declared Aug 30 that the regime forces carried out two chemical attacks inside Syria -- one in Talmenes on April 21, 2014, and the other in Sarmin on March 16, 2015 -- and the Daesh terrorist group was responsible for one in Marea on Aug. 21, 2015.

Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government, one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli, each of which boasts its own military capacity and legislative assembly.

Late last year, the rival governments signed a UN-sponsored agreement that established a national unity government.

The UN-backed unity government, however, has remained beset by difficulties and has yet to apply its governing mandate across the troubled North African country.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Eylül 2016, 08:53