U.N. Security Council calls for control of Libyan WMDs

The U.N. Security Council has been warned that the weapons of mass destruction that have been stashed in Libya for years in Muammar Qaddafi's regime could be taken by terrorists unless immediate action is taken.
Lynn Pascoe, the U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, issued the warning on Monday during a meeting in New York with the council and officials from Libya's new interim government, the National Transitional Council, Radio Free Europe reports.
"It is imperative that the [National Transitional Council] and the international community establish control over the large stocks of sophisticated arms, including ground-to-air missiles amassed by the Qaddafi government," Pascoe said, according to Radio Free Europe. "The spread of these weapons and the dangers that they could fall into the hands of terrorists are matters of grave concern. Re-establishing control over chemical weapons material is also of major importance."
Qaddafi's regime began producing chemical weapons in the 1980s and is known to have used them against Chadian troops in 1987. The Rabta industrial complex in Libya produced mustard gas and sarin during the late 1980s and 1990s until U.N. sanctions forced the facility to become inactive. Qaddafi declared his chemical weapons program abandoned in 2003, but after destroying 3,200 chemical weapon artillery shells under supervision in 2004, the regime declared it still had a stockpile of 23 tons of mustard gas, as well as the materials needed to produce sarin and other chemical weapons.
Leaked classified cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli detail how Qaddafi's government may have kept 9.5 tons of mustard gas hidden away in secret desert stockpiles. One massive stockpile of chemical agents was discovered during last week in an area no longer under the control of Qaddafi's troops.
"Qaddafi is still at large. He has a lot of assets - money, gold - and the simple fact of thinking that he is still free and that he has at his disposal such wealth means that he is still able to destabilize the situation," Mahmud Jibril, the interim prime minister of Libya, said, according to Radio Free Europe. "Not only within my country but also along the coast and in the African desert. It is no exaggeration to say that even beyond the African continent, Qaddafi, with the means that he has, could return to his terrorist practices."
A Qaddafi spokesman said on Monday that the ousted ruler still remains in Libya and is contributing to the battle against NTC forces.