UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council called Tuesday for swift international verification of Libya’s decision to scrap its weapons of mass destruction programs.
In a statement, the council said it “warmly welcomed” the announcement last Friday by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that the North African country would abandon its efforts to build nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them.
Libya has agreed to submit to U.N. weapons inspections and to provide full details of programs to develop nuclear and chemical weapons that were more advanced than suspected by the United States and Britain, which conducted nine months of secret talks to work out the arrangement.
The Security Council statement said “members looked forward to the early implementation of all the commitments made in the announcement including the subjection to urgent international verification.”
Libya initially took issue with a reference in the proposed council statement encouraging international cooperation “to ensure the verified elimination of all Libya’s weapons of mass destruction programs.” But council diplomats said that after a meeting Monday night with British diplomats, Libya dropped its objection.
However, the council did drop a statement from the draft which said, “Libya’s actions could become a model for others, including in the Middle East, toward reversing the proliferation.”
Pakistan, which possesses nuclear weapons and admitted Tuesday that rogue nuclear scientists driven by “personal ambition and greed” may have spread sensitive technology to Iran, insisted on eliminating the reference to Libya’s actions becoming “a model” for other countries.
The United States objected to singling out the Middle East on the grounds that it was clearly aimed at Israel, which is believed to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan and Libya wanted the Middle East reference, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The final statement said the council “encouraged Libya’s cooperation with others, including the U.N. and other relevant international bodies, to ensure the verified elimination of all Libya’s WMD programs.”
On Monday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, said he will lead the first inspection of Libya’s nuclear facilities as soon as next week.