Libya completes destruction of sulfur mustard agent in Ruwagha

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced on Monday that Libya completed the destruction of sulfur mustard agent that was stored in bulk in a depot in Ruwagha.

Libya has destroyed 22.3 metric tons of Category 1 chemical weapons, representing approximately 85 percent of its total declared stocks. Libya destroyed 8.82 metric tons of sulfur mustard stored in bulk at Ruwagha between April 20 and May 4. The OPCW verified the completion of the chemical agent destruction with a team of OPCW inspectors.

Libya also complied with a timeline it had set as part of a detailed chemical weapon destruction plan by competing the destruction of its remaining Category 3 weapons.

Libya must still destroy approximately 2.45 metric tons of polymerized sulfur mustard and 1.6 metric tons of sulfur mustard loaded in bombs, projectiles and bomb cartridges, in addition to 846 metric tons of precursor chemicals.

Ahmet uzumcu, the director-general of the OPCW, announced Libya's achievement during his opening address to the 72nd session of the OPCW executive council.

"I would like to congratulate Libya on this accomplishment," uzumcu said. "I should also like to thank Canada, Germany, and the United States of America for the assistance they provided, which facilitated the redeployment of the inspection team and resumption of destruction operations."

Libya began its destruction of bulk sulfur mustard in October 2010, though a malfunction in the neutralization unit caused a two year delay from February 2011 onward. As soon as circumstances allowed, the country resumed its destruction of chemical weapons.