Gaddafi had hidden stockpile of chemical weapons
Published 20/01/2012 | 13:37
LIBYAN dictator Muammar Gaddafi had an undeclared stockpile of chemical weapons, international inspectors have confirmed.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said inspectors who visited Libya this week found sulphur mustard and artillery shells "which they determined are chemical munitions", meaning the shells were not filled with chemicals but were designed specifically to be loaded with chemical weapons.
"They are not ready to use, because they are not loaded with agents," said OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan.
He would not divulge the amounts of chemicals in the previously unknown stockpile except to call it "a fraction" of what Gaddafi disclosed in the past.
Libya's new rulers told the Hague-based organisation about the chemicals last year after toppling Gaddafi from power. The long-time Libyan leader was killed in October after being captured by rebel fighters.
The newly confirmed chemical armaments are stored at the Ruwagha depot in south-eastern Libya with chemical weapons that Gaddafi had declared to international authorities in 2004 as he tried to shake off his image as an international pariah and rebuild relations with the West.
Libya was to have completed destruction of its chemical weapons by April 29 of this year, but can no longer meet the deadline after the turmoil of the uprising.
The country's new government now has until that date to file a plan and proposed completion date.