Plan to rid Libya of chemical weapons backed by UN
Libya this week asked the OPCW chemical watchdog to draw up a plan for the destruction of the toxic agents
The UN Security Council on Friday endorsed plans to rid Libya of its chemical weapons and prevent them from falling into the hands of extremists like ISIS.
Libya this week asked the OPCW chemical watchdog to draw up a plan for the destruction of the toxic agents that until recently were stored at the Ruwagha depot in southeastern Libya.
Libyan authorities moved the stockpile to another location in recent days and now want the OPCW -- the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons -- to help remove them from the country and destroy them outside Libya.
The council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on UN member-states to help Libya's UN-backed national unity government and the OPCW with "the elimination of category 2 chemical weapons safely and in the soonest practicable timescale."
The measure authorizes governments to take part in the operation, allowing them to "acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy" chemical weapons to "ensure the elimination of Libya's chemical weapons stockpile in the soonest and safest manner."
Making his first visit to the United Nations, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the resolution "marks the beginning of the end of the Libyan chemical weapons program."
"We have reduced the risk of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists and fanatics," he said.
The resolution invokes chapter 7 of the UN charter, which allows the council to enforce the measure through military force or sanctions.
Britain and Russia have raised concerns that Libya's chemical stockpile could fall into the hands of IS jihadists, who hold the key coastal city of Sirte and are active in other parts of the country.
Libya joined the UN convention on eliminating chemical weapons in 2004.