Allied teams arrive in Libya to dismantle WMD programs

Thursday, January 22, 2004

U.S. officials said a British-U.S. team has arrived in Tripoli and established an office for operations. They said the team will oversee and help dismantle Libya's medium- and intermediate-range missiles as well as WMD facilities.

The British-U.S. team contains about a dozen members, officials said. They said the team is expected to remain in Libya throughout most of 2004.

The U.S. team is headed by ambassador Don Mahley, Middle East Newsline reported.

On Jan. 25, a six-member delegation from the U.S. Congress plans to oversee the dismantling of WMD programs in Libya and meet its ruler, Col. Moammar Khaddafy.

"We are guaranteed a meeting face-to-face with Col. Khaddafy, a visit to the university and probably a visit to a weapons of mass destruction site and meetings with ordinary Libyans," Rep. Curt Weldon, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said.

The British-U.S. team has been joined by a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA intends to oversee the dismantling of Libya's nuclear program that contains elements for the use of nuclear weapons.

"Agency inspectors are already at work in Libya verifying the dismantling of its nuclear programs," IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said. "More experts are to follow over the coming weeks."

The IAEA team arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, a day after Britain and the United States agreed on the role of the agency in the effort to dismantle Libya's WMD programs. Officials said the British-U.S. team would dismantle the facilities and remove or destroy the equipment. The IAEA would monitor the effort.

"Col. Khaddafy correctly judged that his country would be better off, and far more secure, without weapons of mass murder," President George Bush said in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. "Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America."

"I think things will start to happen rather quickly," Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday. "I can't give you a timeline now until the work is done on the ground. But we do have people on the ground now working with the Libyans."

Iran, North Korea and Pakistan have been cited as major suppliers of Libya's missile and WMD programs. But U.S. officials said Western European companies also provided dual-use components for Libya's nuclear program.

Two Dutch Cabinet ministers have told parliament that a company in the Netherlands might have transferred centrifuge technology to such countries as Iran, Libya, North Korea and Pakistan. The company was identified as the Dutch unit of Urenco, whose designs for the development and manufacture of centrifuge cylinders were found in Libyan warehouses by the British-U.S. team. Pakistan was said to have obtained similar designs from Urenco more than 20 years ago.

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