Libya Completes Destruction of Its Category 1 Chemical Weapons

Tuesday, 04 February 2014

Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü (Left) meeting with the Libyan Foreign Minister, Mr Mohamed Abdulaziz.

TRIPOLI – At a joint press conference in the Libyan capital today, Libya’s Foreign Minister, Mr Mohamed Abdulaziz, announced that as of 26 January 2014 Libya has destroyed the remaining mustard gas filled in artillery projectiles and aerial bombs. Libya had previously completed last year the disposal of bulk mustard. 

The announcement followed a visit to the site in south-eastern Libya where the destruction operations took place by OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü and representatives of Germany and the United States, whose governments provided Libya aid to eliminate its stockpile. 

"The destruction of these munitions was a major undertaking in arduous, technically challenging circumstances, as we saw first-hand earlier today at the remote Ruwagha Chemical Weapon Destruction Facility,” the Director-General said. “From start to finish, meeting these challenges was the product of close cooperation between Libya, the OPCW Technical Secretariat and other States Parties."

Related: Interview with the Director-General on Libya

States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) are obligated to declare and destroy all chemical weapons and related materials they may possess, under the verification of the OPCW. 

On joining the CWC in January 2004, Libya declared to the OPCW possession of nearly 25 metric tonnes of bulk sulfur mustard agent; several thousand unloaded aerial munitions designed for use with chemical warfare agents; and several chemical weapons production facilities. The declared aerial munitions were immediately destroyed in March 2004, and in the ensuing years the production facilities were either destroyed or converted to peaceful purposes under the OPCW’s approval and verification.

Operations to destroy the bulk sulfur mustard agent began in October 2010 but were suspended in February 2011 when the destruction facility malfunctioned. Following the conclusion of Libya’s civil conflict, the new Government declared a newly discovered amount of munitions loaded with sulfur mustard that had not been acknowledged in Libya’s original declaration. 

Germany, Canada and the United States provided assistance to the new government to resume destruction operations at Ruwagha in early 2013. Preparations for the destruction of chemical precursors, which are Category 2 chemicals, are planned to start later and their destruction is to be completed by December 2016.

At today’s press conference, the Libyan Foreign Minister and OPCW Director-General were joined by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, the Honorable Andrew C. Weber; the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, H.E. Deborah Jones; the German Ambassador to the OPCW,  H.E. Eberhard Schanze; and Canada’s Chargé d’affaires in Tripoli, Mr Denis Thibault. 

For more details on Libya, see Libya: Facts and Figures


Categories: Africa, Director-General, Libya

For further information, please contact OPCW Public Affairs. +31 (0) 70 416 3242, public.affairs@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

Follow OPCW on Facebook and Twitter.

More news

OPCW Director-General Visits Vienna

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 22 February 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, met with the Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and...22 February 2018Full story

United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Defence Visits OPCW

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 14 February 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, met with the Minister of State for Defence for the United Kingdom of...14 February 2018Full story

OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria Continues Investigations into Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 7 February 2018 – Recent allegations about the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Aran Republic continue to be of grave concern to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The...07 February 2018Full story

OPCW Schedule 1 Users Forum Held in Switzerland

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 1 February 2018 – The second workshop on Schedule 1 facilities, the “Schedule 1 Users Forum” was held at Spiez Laboratory in Switzerland from 22 – 25 January. The workshop was hosted by the Federal...01 February 2018Full story

H.E. Mr Ricardo Nario (Uruguay)

H.E. Mr Ricardo Nario, Permanent Representative of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 30 January, 2018.30 January 2018Full story

Latin America and the Caribbean OPCW Member States Review Initiatives in Green Chemistry

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands — 18 January 2018 —The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Member States from Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) gathered for a workshop on Chemistry for Safety, Security...18 January 2018Full story

South African Parliamentarians Visit OPCW

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 18 January 2018 — A senior delegation of the Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence from South Africa visited today the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to gain insight into...18 January 2018Full story

H.E. Mr Shujjat Ali Rathore (Pakistan)

H.E. Mr Shujjat Ali Rathore, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 12 January, 2018.12 January 2018Full story

OPCW Director-General Praises Complete Destruction of Libya’s Chemical Weapon Stockpile

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 11 January 2018 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, applauded the complete elimination of the Category 2 chemical materials...11 January 2018Full story

OPCW Promotes Responsible Care® Programme in Central Asia and Eastern Europe

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands — 3 January 2018 — The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) made strides in the promotion of the Responsible Care® Programme in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, during a workshop...03 January 2018Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1866
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>