Recently discovered Libyan chemical weapons were previously declared

Stockpiles of chemical weapons found recently in Libya are the same that were declared previously to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by the former regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

Libyan authorities told the OPCW that the necessary measures have been taken to control and protect the stockpile. The same sources have not advised the OPCW of the discovery of any unknown or undeclared chemical weapons, according to

“It is important for the OPCW that these stockpiles are secured and misuse is prevented, and ensuring this remains a national responsibility under the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said, reports. “From this perspective we welcome the fact that Libyan authorities are taking necessary measures to secure the bunkers.”

The organization had inspectors present in Libya until February, and, according to the OPCW, the destruction facility malfunctioned. The inspectors reportedly withdrew until repairs could be made. The malfunction occurred around the same time that the rebellion against Qaddafi gathered intensity.

The OPCW reported that the Qaddafi regime had, as of the outbreak of the crisis, destroyed 55 percent of its mustard gas and 40 percent of the precursors required for making chemical weapons. Its entire stockpile of 3,500 aerial bombs designed for use with chemical weapons was also eliminated.

OPCW inspectors are prepared to return to Libya to continue the elimination process as soon as circumstances permit. The new government has, according to the OPCW, inherited Libya’s obligations to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW said that once destruction activities resume, the remaining mustard gas can be destroyed in as little as a month.