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article imageCanada promises $10 million for Libyan weapons disarmament

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 11, 2011 in World
Tripoli - Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was in Libya today, where he met with Mustafa Abdul-Jalil. Baird promised Canada would give $10 million to the NTC to fund weapon recovery and disarmament.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is on his second visit to Libya, where he met with interim leader of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil. Baird arrived with an entourage of Canadian business representatives eager to resume projects interrupted by the outbreak of civil war. Top of Baird's agenda was the promise of $10 million to the NTC in order to help to secure and disarm Libya's stockpile of weapons.
Baird reaffirmed Canada's support for the interim government, promising assistance "particularly to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, which obviously exist in at least several warehouses of chemical weapons" the Vancouver Sun reported. Weyburn This Week cites an Additional 23,000 missing shoulder-to-air missile launchers which disappeared when Gaddafi's armouries were looted during the rebel uprising.
In September, Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said that "remaining stockpiles of chemical weapons are secured" in Libya. He stated that inspectors from the organization were ready to oversee their destruction once conditions allowed, according to RFE.
It may be too late to recover and destroy many of the missing weapons which have already been looted and smuggled out of Libya. Many are believed to have fallen into the hands of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The terrorist group has had months to hide the weapons. As early as March concerns were raised about missing weapons even as rebel fighters complained they were woefully unarmed.
Idriss Deby Itno, President of Chad said "I am certain that AQIM took an active part in the uprising." Itno also stated "The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere." (News Com Au)
Canada's Ambassador to Libya, Sandra McCardell, has stressed the importance of disarming young rebels and considers Canada can contribute towards future peace in the country by helping to facilitate this process. Baird did not state if a full accounting of the contributed millions would be required or if the government expected to be repaid at some point in the future from the $2.2 billion of frozen Libyan assets currently held by Canada.
More about Canada, Canada $10 million Libya, Libya, Foreign affairs minister John Baird, Libya's NTC
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