Libya's remaining 500 tons of chemical weapons heading for destruction

A ship transporting Libya's remaining chemical weapons has left the North African country as part of an international operation to destroy the arsenal, the Danish government said Wednesday.

Copenhagen said 500 tons of chemical weapon remnants were collected on Saturday from the Libyan port of Misrata, and loaded onto a Danish cargo vessel that was heading for Germany, where the arsenal is to be destroyed.

"We have now removed the chemical remnants from Libya and have ensured that they will not fall into the wrong hands," Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said in a statement.

The Danish contribution comprised a civilian cargo ship and an escort vessel, supported by a 200-strong force of soldiers and experts. Danish lawmakers unanimously approved the mission, earlier this month.

A British naval vessel was to escort the cargo ship through the Mediterranean, the Danish Foreign Ministry said.

The Scandinavian country already 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 recently 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 destroying its chemical weapons. However the final destruction of the stockpile was halted when the country was thrown into political and military chaos amid the 2011 fall of former dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

Last update: Wed, 31/08/2016 - 13:06

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