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Libyan Newswire

Canada welcomes completion of chemical weapons removal from Libya

September 9, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today welcomed the news that the final remnants of Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile have been safely delivered to a facility in Germany for destruction. The removal of these chemicals marks the last chapter in a multi-year international effort to help Libya eliminate its chemical weapons program.

Through the Global Partnership Program (GPP), housed within Global Affairs Canada, approximately $725,000 was provided toward the multinational operation for the destruction of Libya’s remaining chemical weapons stockpile, underlining Canada’s commitment to concrete disarmament and counter-terrorism measures and to strengthening the global non-proliferation regime. This funding, through a direct financial grant to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will support the OPCW in helping Libya eliminate its remaining chemical-weapons precursors. The OPCW will use this Canadian funding, for instance, for the deployment of verification teams and for the provision of verification equipment.

The maritime operation to ship these materials from Libya to Europe was led by Denmark and was supported by the British, Spanish and Italian navies. The operation as a whole would not have happened without the financial and in-kind contributions of Denmark, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Canada has played a leading role in the elimination of Libya’s chemical weapons program since 2012, when it contributed $6 million through the OPCW to destroy Libya’s sulphur mustard stockpile and hundreds of tons of precursors, as well as repackaging all leftover chemicals into seaworthy containers. In July, Minister Dion visited the OPCW in The Hague, where Canada’s support for eliminating these terrible weapons was discussed directly with OPCW’s Director General, Ahmet Üzümcü.

The removal of the last chemical weapons precursors from Libya ensures that they will not fall into the hands of Daesh or other armed groups in North Africa.

Quotes

“Preventing non-state actors, including terrorists, from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction is a top priority for the Government of Canada. Canada salutes our partners for their financial and in-kind contributions to this operation. We also commend the OPCW for coordinating this complex undertaking and Libya’s Government of National Accord in requesting and then facilitating the removal of these chemicals.”

– Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • The OPCW is an independent, treaty-based body established in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). With 192 states parties, the CWC is one of the world’s most widely subscribed treaties. Libya acceded to the CWC in 2004.
  • The OPCW is the only multilateral institution charged with eradicating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, it has verified the elimination of 93 percent of the world’s declared chemical weapons. The OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its achievements.
  • Canada has been a leading voice at the OPCW since 1997. We are the largest voluntary cash contributor to the organization, having provided $22 million since 2012 to help destroy chemical weapons in Libya and Syria and investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian conflict.
  • Canadian funding to eliminate Libya’s chemical weapons program is provided by the GPP. Housed within Global Affairs Canada, the GPP was established in 2002 to reduce the threat posed by the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, materials and expertise.
  • The approximately $725,000 from the GPP is being channelled through the OPCW to cover destruction and verification activities.

Associated links

Contacts

Chantal Gagnon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
343-203-1851
chantal.gagnon@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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