UN: Gaddafi's weapons may fall into terrorist hands
The international community should establish control over Libya's large stockpiles of sophisticated arms and chemical weapons before terrorists could lay a hand on them, the United Nations said Monday, dpa reported.
Fugitive leader Moamer Gaddafi left behind large depots of arms, including ground-to-air missiles and chemical weapons, said B Lynn Pascoe, the UN undersecretary general for political affairs.
Pascoe said the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) last week found a depot of undeclared chemical weapons materials in Jufra, 435 kilometres south of Tripoli. He said the organization charged with monitoring chemical weapons is studying the discovery.
"The spread of these weapons and the danger they could fall into the hands of terrorists are matters of grave concern," Pascoe told a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya.
The TNC executive committee chairman, Mahmoud Jibril, who attended the council meeting, said the large amount of weapons amassed by the Gaddafi regime was a source of instability for the new government in Tripoli.
But Jibril said another factor was the UN council's failure so far to totally lift sanctions on funds seized from Gaddafi and his family members, estimated at tens of billions of dollars. The council last week decided to lift the freeze imposed since March. So far, only 16 billion dollars have been released to the TNC.
Jibril said the 15-nation council should adopt a resolution as soon as possible to unfreeze all funds so they can go into reconstruction, rebuild schools, hospitals and care for those injured in the fighting against Gaddafi's loyal forces.
Jibril told the council that until Gaddafi is captured, he remains a threat equal to the terrorist threat of al-Qaeda because Gaddafi still has large assets and means to mount terrorist attacks against Libya.
"The fact that he's still free and has wealth at his disposal can destabilize my country, Libya and the region," Jibril said, adding that Gaddafi's possible terrorist activities are "real threats."
Both Jibril and Pascoe said insecurity remains in Libya, with pockets of fighting between Gaddafi supporters and rebels.