Libya: Facts and Figures

As a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Libya is obligated to declare all chemical weapons and associated production facilities that it possesses to the OPCW.  Upon joining the Convention in January 2004 Libya, declared the possession of the following materials and capabilities , which were verified by OPCW inspections:

  • 24.7 metric tonnes (MT) of sulfur mustard
  • 1,390 MT of precursor chemicals
  • 3,563 unloaded chemical weapons munitions (aerial bombs)
  • 3 former chemical weapons production facilities.

In November 2011 and February 2012, the new Libyan government declared a “previously undeclared chemical weapons stockpile”, consisting of several hundred munitions loaded with sulfur mustard, few hundreds kilograms of sulfur mustard stored in plastic containers (the total amount of sulphur mustard declared by Libya stands now at 26.3 MT), as well as a limited number of unfilled plastic containers (munitions components).

The destruction of sulphur mustard initiated in October 2010 was halted in February 2011 due to the breakdown of the heating unit in the disposal station and continues to remain so thus far.  To date, Libya has destroyed under OPCW verification:

  • 51% of its sulfur mustard stockpile, and
  • 40% of its precursor chemicals .
  • Libya had previously destroyed all its unfilled chemical weapons munitions but it is still to destroy the additional items, which were declared in November 2011.

Libya has also irreversibly destroyed two of its former production facilities and, with prior approval of the OPCW, converted the third facility to purposes not prohibited by the Convention (pharmaceuticals manufacturing).

  • All destruction and conversion activities have been verified by OPCW inspections.
  • Libya was unable to meet the final extended deadline of 29 April 2012 and has submitted, as requested by a decision of the Conference of the States Parties, its detailed plan for the destruction of the remaining chemical weapons in which it included a planned completion date, which is December 2016. Destruction operations are planned to resume in March 2013.
  • Under the Convention, the OPCW’s mandate is to inspect and verify chemical weapons destruction activities. Maintaining security of stockpiles until they are destroyed is the responsibility of the Libyan government.