Friday, December 19, 2003

Libya: giving up weapons programs

Reuters had this brief translation of the statment made by the Libyan foreign ministry ...
" ... [Libya] had decided on its free will to... completely eliminate the internationally banned weapons of mass destruction".
President Bush made the announcement at about 5:30 this afternoon ...
Today in Tripoli, the leader of Libya, Colonel Moammar al-Ghadafi, publicly confirmed his commitment to disclose and dismantle all weapons of mass destruction programs in his country. He has agreed immediately and unconditionally to allow inspectors from international organizations to enter Libya. These inspectors will render an accounting of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and will help oversee their elimination.

... As the Libyan government takes these essential steps and demonstrates its seriousness, its good faith will be returned. Libya can regain a secure and respected place among the nations, and over time, achieve far better relations with the United States.

... Because Libya has a troubled history with America and Britain, we will be vigilant in ensuring its government lives up to all its responsibilities. Yet, as we have found with other nations, old hostilities do not need to go on forever. And I hope that other leaders will find an example in Libya's announcement today.
Prime Minister Blair also made a statement ....
Libya's actions entitle it to rejoin the international community. I have spoken to Colonel Qadhafi to say that, as the process of dismantlement goes forward, I now look forward to developing a productive relationship with him and with Libya.

... Today's announcement shows that we can fight this menace through more than purely military means; that we can defeat it peacefully, if countries are prepared, in good faith, to work with the international community to dismantle such weapons. Those countries who pursue such a path will find ready partners in the US and in the UK, as Libya will see.
Both Bush and Blair said that Libya sent representatives back in March to see if there was a way to resolve the weapons issue.

And check this out ... Britain and Libya signed a cultural agreement in Tripoli yesterday.