Denmark offers vessels to take chemical weapons out of Libya

Denmark is offering two vessels to the international effort to transport chemical weapons out of Libya for destruction elsewhere, the government said Monday.

"The chemicals must not fall into the hands of extremist groups in the country," Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said in a statement, referring to the likes of Islamic State.

A 200-strong force would man the Danish vessels consisting of a civilian cargo ship and an escort vessel equipped with a helicopter, the government's proposal to parliament said. The legislature's final approval is expected Friday.

The Scandinavian country took part in a similar operation in Syria two years ago led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The UN-backed unity government in Libya has asked the Hague-based watchdog to help it destroy the remaining stockpile. Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the move.

Libya in 2004 committed itself to destroy its chemical weapons. It declared almost 25 tonnes of sulphur mustard, 1,390 tons of precursor chemicals or compounds used to make chemical weapons, and thousands of unfilled bombs.

Although most of the stockpile has been destroyed, the 2011 fall of former dictator Moamer Gaddafi that threw Libya into political and military chaos halted the final destruction. 

The remaining 850 tonnes of precursor chemicals are reportedly stored in northern Libya. The stockpile is likely to be destroyed in Germany, the Danish statement said. 

Last update: Mon, 15/08/2016 - 13:42
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