Army scientists work to destroy chemical weapons.jpg
Photo showing US MV Cape Ray departed from Norfolk, Va., Jan. 27, 2014, to support a joint mission for the OPCW and UN to destroy Syria’s chemical agent stockpiles. Some 64 specialists from ECBC and two FDHS units will neutralize the stockpile using proven hydrolysis technology.
Photograph: Photo by U.S. Army RDECOM, used under CC BY

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. 

Latest news

Alphabet's self-driving car company sues Uber over alleged theft

Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo said Thursday it was suing Uber and its subsidiary Otto for allegedly stealing its technology and infringing its patents.

US, Mexico take "important steps" even as Trump voices indifference

Top US and Mexican diplomatic and security officials met on Thursday in Mexico City, as President Donald Trump in Washington expressed ambivalence about relations with the United States' southern neighbour.

US Supreme Court's Ginsberg emphasizes value of free press

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed optimism about the political future of the United States despite the polarized and combative political atmosphere that has marked the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump.

Top Trump aide Bannon points to promises kept, media fight

Top White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday US President Donald Trump is keeping the promises he made during his campaign on issues from immigration to job creation.

Le Pen promises independent foreign policy, autonomous defence

Marine Le Pen promised Thursday that if elected president of France she would ensure it had a truly independent foreign policy as well as an autonomous capacity for self-defence.

Slovenia for ending lawsuits against Ljubljanska Banka

Croatia is infringing the memorandum of understanding signed with Slovenia in 2013 which they interpret differently, the Slovenian Embassy said on Thursday after a hearing at a Zagreb court in a suit which Croatia's PBZ bank filed against Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka (LB) and Nova Ljubljanska Bank (NLB) over transferred foreign currency savings.

Marin Pucar appointed as new CEO in Podravka food concern

Marin Pucar is the new Management Board chairman of the Podravka food concern and will take the helm of the company after Zvonimir Mrsic's term expires at midnight on Thursday.

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for 'The Truth' with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.