Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Nuclear Teams Could Start Libya Inspections Next Week
Independent (UK) ^ | 12-23-2003 | Nigel Morris

Posted on 12/22/2003 4:52:17 PM PST by blam

Nuclear teams could start Libya inspections next week

By Nigel Morris
23 December 2003

Inspections of Libyan nuclear sites could start as early as next week, as moves intensified yesterday to bring the north African state back into the international fold.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said he would visit Tripoli next week for initial talks on the state of the Libyan nuclear programme. He said the meeting would "kickstart a process of verification" of Libya's arms, adding: "Inspections will follow, as early as next week."

He said the visit was a positive step by Libya to "rid itself of all programmes or activities that are relevant or could lead to the production of weapons of mass destruction". Mr ElBaradei said he would brief the IAEA's governing board about Libya's illicit nuclear activities, including a uranium enrichment programme to produce bomb-grade material.

Downing Street has said that the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, had not "acquired a nuclear weapons capability, though it was close to developing one".

Talks with the IAEA were hastily organised in Vienna on Saturday, after Libya announced it was abandoning its weapons of mass destruction programme. Libya was already a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but a new protocol allows for tougher, "snap" visits to nuclear sites by IAEA inspectors.

Mr ElBaradei's arrival will trigger a protracted process, starting with Libya accounting for its nuclear programme. The IAEA will then carry out inspections to verify the accuracy of the information, followed by the dismantling process, probably by Libyans. The IAEA will carry out continuous monitoring to ensure no new nuclear programmes are set up.

Welcoming the move, Mike O'Brien, a Foreign Office minister, paid tribute to Col Gaddafi for his "statesmanlike and courageous" conduct in recent weeks.

Britain expected Tripoli to "co-operate fully" with the UN nuclear watchdog and with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Mr O'Brien told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: "In the case of biological weapons ... Libya has indicated it is prepared to accept, following some negotiations and discussions, ways of verifying, monitoring and inspecting them. We are happy that process is one we think could ensure Libya is fully compliant."

The Libyan Prime Minister, Shokri Ghanem, yesterday underlined his country's willingness to co-operate with the UN weapons inspections team.

"We are pleased with the commitment we are making to the IAEA and we are willing to abide by its rules and honour our commitments," he told the BBC. "It is the IAEA rules and procedures that will decide how much we are applying what we said and that we mean what we say and honour our commitments." But he called on Israel to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. He said: "The Middle East ... should be free from weapons of mass destruction and that is what Israel should be."

Mr Ghanem denied Libya had supported terrorists, maintaining it was "participating in the fight against terrorism".

His government's priority was to improve the country's economy and the living standards of Libyans," he said.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; inspections; libya; next; nuclear; week

1 posted on 12/22/2003 4:52:18 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: blam
Yes! Chalk up more points for Bush and Blair.
2 posted on 12/22/2003 5:14:29 PM PST by Old Grumpy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
I find the timing of Gaddafi's action very curious.

Osma's gang says they are going to overshadow 9/11.
Gaddafi announces he is going to be a good boy from now on.
Terrorist chatter goes high.
USA goes to Orange Alert.

If something goes boom in a big way in the USA right now, Gaddafi can say "Wasn't me" and sound creditable.

3 posted on 12/22/2003 5:22:51 PM PST by Jeff Gordon (arabed - verb: lower in esteem; hurt the pride of [syn: mortify, chagrin, humble, abase, humiliate])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson