By Bollfrass, Alex
Arms Control Today , Vol. 37, No. 6
Vowing to take sole responsibility for destroying its chemical weapons, Libya has annulled its contract with the United States. The Libyan government cancelled the agreement, effective June 14, because of dissatisfaction with its provisions on liability, financing, and facility ownership.
Department of State spokesperson Nancy Beck told Arms Control Today June 18 that Libya had given notice in May that "it was exercising its option to withdraw from the government-to-government contract, citing concerns about indemnification, cost-sharing, and the disposition of the equipment used to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles."
Despite the contract's abrogation, the State Department described Libya's actions as "a model of nonproliferation."
Under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), to which Libya acceded in May 2004, Libya is obligated to destroy its stockpile by the end of 2010. The U.S.-Libyan agreement was signed in December 2006.
The bilateral agreement arranged for major U.S. assistance to the technically challenging and costly effort of eliminating chemical weaponry in the Libyan desert. In addition to destroying 23.6 metric tons of mustard gas, Libya must abolish around 1,300 metric tons of precursor chemicals to comply with the convention.
Beck also said that the United States had "demonstrated flexibility on indemnification and equipment disposition." In particular, the equipment-disposition discussions focused on whether the U.S.-built destruction facility would be given or sold to Libya, and if it would be removed after completion. …