Libyan weapons a lingering concern

Nov. 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The United States is working with the new leadership in Tripoli to ensure the country's weapons don't fall into the wrong hands, a U.S. diplomat said.

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is visiting Libya this week.

Her visit comes roughly one month after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi died when he fell into rebel hands. His son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and the country's former intelligence chief were apprehended this week. Both are wanted on war crimes charges by the international court.

Rice said she spoke with the government in Libya about the security of weapons stockpiles in the country.

"Those that were in the former Gadhafi stockpiles are among those that are of real interest to the new Libyan government as well as the United States and others in the international community," she told al-Arabiya.

An October report from French newspaper France 24 suggested heavy weaponry lost during the Libyan war was in the hands of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The report said Mauritanian officials say AQIM has surface-to-air missiles in its possession that can down a commercial airliner.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said explosive remnants of war, particularly in Sirte, create a serious threat to the civilian population. The ICRC said it is removing the threat posed by more than 1,000 warheads and other weapons throughout Libya since March.

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