"We are glad to announce today that Libya has told us and confirmed to the OPCW that in the next few months, it will comply with its agreement to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons," said OPCW Director General Rogelio Pfirter on Tuesday. 

"Since the entry into force of the convention for Libya on 5 February, 2004, Libya has presented its initial declaration and destroyed, under stringent verification carried out by OPCW inspectors, more than 3500 aerial bombs," he said. 

Pfirter was speaking in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa where he was attending a three-day international conference on chemical weapons. 

Hope for inspiration

He said he hoped Libya's decision would inspire other countries to join the ranks of the overwhelming majority of peace-loving
nations that have rejected weapons of mass destruction. 

"I fervently hope that the signs of progress we are seeing today in ridding North Africa of chemical weapons will be emulated soon in the rest of the Middle East," he added. 

He pointed out that the Convention of Chemical Weapons (CWC) now has 162 member countries and is the fastest growing disarmament treaty in the world. 

"I fervently hope that the signs of progress we are seeing today in ridding North Africa of chemical weapons will be emulated soon in the rest of the Middle East"

Rogelio Pfirter,
OPCW Director General

"In less than one year, we have moved from 17 to 12 states not party in Africa and it will soon come down to 11 when Madagascar joins our ranks," he said. 

'Guaranteeing stability'

"African countries have joined the CWC because it is one of the core international conventions to guarantee perfect peace and stability," said Pfirter. 

The OPCW is an independent international organisation which
works with the United Nations to monitor the 1997 convention banning the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, and to lobby countries that have not yet joined the treaty to do so. 

Libya decided in January to adhere to the convention. According to OPCW rules, Libya has to complete the destruction of its chemical weapons stock and its capacity for producing such weapons before 29 April, 2007.