U.S. denies it will compensate Libya for WMD

Monday, February 2, 2004

The United States has rejected the precendent set by the Clinton administration on North Korea, and will not compensate Libya for the dismantling of its weapons of mass destruction program.

"No, we're not compensating nations for dismantling illicit nuclear weapons programs," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Jan. 29. "And we're confident Libya understands that."

Boucher rejected an assertion by Seif Al Islam, the son of Libyan ruler Moammar Khaddafy, that the United States would compensate Tripoli for the cost of its nuclear program. Al Islam said Libya sought to use its nuclear program for such civilian purposes as desalinating water.

Last week, the United States flew Libyan centrifuge equipment along with guidance systems for extended-range Scud C and Scud D missiles to a nuclear facility in Tennessee. Officials said this would be the first of several shipments of Libyan WMD to the United States, Middle East Newsline reported.

The department said Libya has not made this a condition in the dismantling of Libya's nuclear weapons and other WMD programs.

U.S. officials said the Bush administration would not offer Libya the deal made with North Korea in 1994. At the time, the Clinton administration agreed to compensate Pyongyang for the halt in its nuclear weapons program by financing the purchase of two light water reactors. The agreement was never implemented.

"I speak of the policy of this administration," Boucher said.

Officials said the United States was discussing with Libya its participation in a project meant to reduce the risk of dismantling Tripoli's nuclear weapons program. This would include help to protect civilian nuclear facilities as well as the training of Libyan nuclear scientists so that they would not be recruited in such countries as Iran or Pakistan.

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