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The Chemical Weapons Convention Enters Into Force in Libya
Libya announced its renunciation of all weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, on 18 December 2003. Subsequently, the Libyan Government deposited its instrument of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with the United Nations on 6 January 2004. As foreseen by the Convention, thirty days later, on 5 February 2004, the CWC will enter into force for Libya and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be legally empowered on that day to begin the on-site verification of Libya’s compliance with the chemical weapons ban.
From 5 February 2004, Libya will begin to meet in full its obligations under this international disarmament and nonproliferation treaty. In response to the Libyan Government’s request for technical support, an OPCW team of experts will be working closely with Libyan officials to ensure the effective and comprehensive implementation of the chemical weapons ban.
As foreseen by the CWC, Libya’s obligations under the Convention include: establishing a National Authority and points of entry to facilitate, among other administrative duties, the requisite chemical weapons-related & industrial inspections; drafting and enacting national legislation to implement the Convention and make any breach of the Convention committed on the territory of Libya or by a Libyan national a crime punishable under domestic law.
The OPCW’s international inspectors will be verifying on-site Libya’s compliance with the CWC’s disarmament and non-proliferation obligations, including:
° Verifying Libya’s comprehensive initial declaration of any chemical weapons, past and present chemical weapons-related activities, as well as of any industrial activities or sites, subject to reporting;
° Inactivating, and subsequently eliminating any chemical weapons production capacity;
° Securing any chemical weapons prior to their destruction;
° Destroying any chemical weapons;
° Ensuring the non-diversion of chemicals for activities prohibited under the Convention, as well as reporting any transfers and abiding by transfer restrictions of CWC-listed chemicals.
The OPCW welcomes Libya’s sovereign and voluntary decision to join the other 158 States party to the Chemical Weapons Convention as a positive step that significantly enhances its own national, as well regional and collective security. Libya will enjoy as a Member State of the OPCW the collective protection against chemical weapons afforded by the Convention.
OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter commented upon the expected entry into force of the Convention in Libya, noting, “Libya’s historic initiative is a decision of signal importance, which, hopefully, will serve to guide and encourage other States to follow suit. The OPCW stands ready to provide any assistance and support necessary to ensure that the chemical weapons ban is fully implemented in Libya and globally. This treaty benefits all States and this Organisation will spare no effort to include every State under its protection."
For further information, please contact OPCW Public Affairs. +31 (0) 70 416 3242, firstname.lastname@example.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands
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