Libya reports progress in securing chemical weapons

A top United Nations envoy in Libya recently warned that some weapons depots in that country have been looted entirely, but noted progress in securing Libya’s chemical and nuclear material.

The envoy, Ian Martin, said that preventing weapons from being smuggled out of Libya will be a difficult task considering how porous the nation’s borders are, especially those along the desert, according to the Associated Press.

Last week, Libyan officials announced that they had discovered two sites containing chemical weapons that had not been declared by Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, despite his assurances that he would not pursue non-conventional weapons.

Officials said that they have found an additional 7,000 drums of raw uranium. Martin said that the uranium has since been secured.

“That has to be a priority now, to secure what still remains in Libya,” he said, the AP reports. “Over time, the international community can assist Libya and its neighbors with that, but I am afraid there is not a quick and easy solution to that problem.”

Reporters came across a number of weapons depots that had been left unguarded or looted after forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi retreated during Libya’s eight month civil war.

Martin said that mines, ammunition and should-fired missiles remain a cause for serious concern.

“It’s clear that much has already gone missing from unsecured locations and that there are still locations which have not been properly secured,” Martin said, according to the AP.