Libya and the OPCW

The OPCW coordinated a complex and agile international effort for a chemical weapons-free Libya.

Libya asked OPCW and the international community for assistance with destroying its remaining Category 2 chemical weapons from its former chemical weapons programme, 3 February 2016.

The request was prompted by an eroding security environment, the condition of the storage tanks, and concerns about the chemical weapon pre-cursors falling into the hands of terrorists.

Urgent

Request for Support and Assistance

The Libyan Government of National Accord asked for support and assistance on 16 July 2016 in transporting and destroying outside of Libyan territory these final remnants as soon as possible.

On 20 July 2016, the OPCWExecutive Council requested that the Director-General assist Libya with developing its plan to destroy the chemicals. Two days later, the UN Security Council adopted UNSCR 2298 welcoming and endorsing the Executive Council decision.

Transport

International Operation Mounted

In response to Libya’s request, an international operation coordinated by the OPCW was mounted with contributions from Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States to support the timely destruction of Libya’s remaining chemical weapons in the safest and most secure manner.

Three countries – Libya, Denmark, and Germany – took the lead for key elements of the operation (removal, maritime transport, and destruction). The other contributors provided personnel, technical expertise, equipment, information, financial and other resources.

Destruction

Destruction Operation

On 8 September 2016, the multi-country maritime transportation operation led by Denmark successfully delivered the chemical materials to Germany and marked the beginning of the destruction operation under OPCWverification.

The OPCW verified the completed destruction of these materials at Gesellschaft zur Entsorgung von chemischen Kampfstoffen und Rüstungsaltlasten (GEKA) on 23 November 2017.

Demilitarisation

Result

The destruction of Libya’s remaining Category 2 chemical weapons in the GEKA facility brought the total amount of the Libyan Category 2 chemical weapons destroyed to 100 per cent. Libya had previously destroyed all of its Category 1 and 3 chemical weapons.

Because of the determination of Libya and the international community supported by OPCWverification, the world can have confidence that these chemicals will never become weapons.

Interviews from officials involved in the operation from 2016-2017. Titles provided reflect positions of interviewees during the operation.

Decisions

Related Official Series Documents

Progress Reports

Document Symbol Title Date
EC‑87/DG.1 Status of the Implementation of the Plan for the Destruction of Libya's Remaining Category 2 Chemical Weapons Outside the Territory of Libya 23 October 2017
EC‑86/NAT.3 Libya: Report to the Council at its Eighty-Sixth Session on the Progress Achieved Toward the Complete Destruction of the Remaining Chemical Weapons Stockpile 19 September 2017
EC‑85/DG.20 Status of the Implementation of the Plan for the Destruction of Libya's Remaining Category 2 Chemical Weapons Outside the Territory of Libya 23 June 2017
EC‑85/NAT.4 Libya: Report to the Executive Council at its Eighty-Fifth Session on the Progress Achieved Towards the Complete Destruction of the Remaining Chemical Weapons Stockpile (31 May 2017) 15 June 2017
EC‑85/DG.9 Status of the Implementation of the Plan for the Destruction of Libya's Remaining Category 2 Chemical Weapons Outside the Territory of Libya 24 May 2017
EC‑85/DG.4 Status of the Implementation of the Plan for the Destruction of Libya's Remaining Category 2 Chemical Weapons Outside the Territory of Libya 24 April 2017
EC‑84/DG.5 Status of the Implementation of the Plan for the Destruction of Libya's Remaining Category 2 Chemical Weapons Outside the Territory of Libya 21 December 2016
EC‑84/DG.3 Status of the Implementation of the Plan for the Destruction of Libya's Remaining Category 2 Chemical Weapons Outside the Territory of Libya 21 November 2016
EC‑75/NAT.24 Libya: Statement by the Libyan Delegation at the Seventy-Fifth Session of the Executive Council 4 March 2014
EC‑70/NAT.18 Libya: Review of the Progress Made Towards Destruction of Chemical Weapons in Libya: Statement by the Libyan Delegation at the Seventieth Session of the Executive Council 25 September 2012

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