Libya still has some explaining to do about its nuke program

Thursday, June 17, 2004

LONDON Libya pledged six months ago to eliminate all elements of its nuclear weapons program. However, U.S. officials said Libya was receiving shipments from the Pakistani nuclear network of Abdul Qadeer Khan as late as March 2004.

The International Atomic Energy Agency continues to seek information on Libya's nuclear weapons program, Middle East Newsline reported.

The IAEA said Libya has yet to supply sufficient details on its procurement of a range of materials and equipment required for the production of bomb-grade uranium.

The IAEA assessment matched that of the United States, which has also sought information on a range of issues regarding Libya's nuclear weapons program.

Libya did report the March shipment to Britain, the United States and the IAEA.

IAEA director-general Mohammed El Baradei told the agency's board of governors that Libya has been working closely with international nuclear inspectors. El Baradei said the agency has been working with Tripoli to obtain what he termed a "complete picture" of Libya's nuclear program.

"We are making good progress in understanding Libya's past nuclear activities but some aspects still need to be assessed, and it is important that Libya provide the necessary information to enable that assessment to be made," El Baradei said.

The IAEA chief cited a series of examples where Libya would be required to demonstrate additional cooperation. They included confirmation of the origin of the uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, Libya received in 2000 and 2001.

UF6 has been described as a key element in the assembly of nuclear weapons. El Baradei also called for verification of Libya's planned capabilities for UF6 production. He also said the agency required understanding of the source of high-enriched and low-enriched uranium contamination on gas centrifuge equipment in Libya.

"Libya has proactively cooperated with the agency by providing information and prompt access to all locations requested," El Baradei said.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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