RealNews

U.S.-Libya chemical arms-related deal in doubt

Libya, citing cost and liability concerns, has informed the United States of plans to back out of a contract to destroy its mustard gas stocks as promised under a landmark 2003 agreement, U.S. officials said. The State Department played down the development and insisted Tripoli remains committed to getting rid of its chemical weapons agents. But some officials and experts worry that a critical opportunity to destroy Libya’s remaining stocks — believed to include 23 metric tons of old mustard gas and 1,300 metric tons of precursor chemicals — could be lost. “We can’t let this opportunity slip by,” said a U.S. official, who like several others interviewed this week spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak for the record. Under the 2003 agreement — hailed by the Bush administration as a major foreign policy success and a model for other countries — Libya promised to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and long-range missile programs. Full Story

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