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Thursday, January 19, 2012

'Tons' of mustard gas remain in Libya

Libya still has 'tons' of mustard gas. But who controls them? No one seems to know.
Some 11 metric tons of lethal mustard gas, also known as sulfur mustard or yperite, remain in existence in Libya, Belgian media reported on Wednesday citing Defense Minister Pieter de Crem.

Under ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2004. The country declared it had 1.4 metric tons of raw materials to produce chemical weapons and 25 metric tons of mustard gas.

As of March 2011, Libya had destroyed 55 percent of its chemical weapons stockpile.

However, the country still had to eliminate 11.25 tons of mustard gas, which can form large blisters or chemical burns on exposed skin and eyes and cause bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system.

The disposal process was disrupted when an uprising to oust Gaddafi evolved into an armed conflict and resulted in the death of Libya’s longtime ruler, with the help of NATO and other international forces.

According to earlier media reports, mustard gas was produced at a chemical plant in Rabta about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tripoli and stockpiles were located in Rabta and Al-Jufra, south of Sirte.
What could go wrong?

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