White House Comments on Removal of Chemical Weapons Precursors from Libya

National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price today commented on the removal of chemical weapons precursors from Libya. His statement, in full, is as follows:

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.  The dual-use industrial chemicals removed from Libya in recent days are the remains of the chemical weapons stockpile accumulated by Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.

The removal was completed at the request of the Libyan Government of National Accord, both to make responsible progress toward fulfilling Libya’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and to ensure that the chemicals did not fall into the hands of ISIL or other terrorists.  The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the international community responded immediately to Libya’s request for assistance, recognizing the need to ensure these hazardous chemicals are destroyed in an environmentally safe, secure, and verifiable manner, and do not threaten the well-being of Libya’s population.

We thank the OPCW and the members of the international community for uniting to take swift action to help eliminate the vestiges of Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile.  We appreciate the important role of Denmark, which has provided maritime assets to safely remove the chemicals from Libya, as well as the significant support provided by Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Finland.  The United States helped organize and support this group – the same coalition that enabled the removal of Syria’s declared chemical weapons in 2013 and 2014.  These efforts reflect our shared commitment to the OPCW’s vision of ridding the world of chemical weapons and preventing their use by state and non-state actors alike.


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