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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI490, ITALY SAYS GOL DELIBERATELY STALLING ON SIGNING CHEMICAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI490 2009-06-18 10:10 2011-01-31 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tripoli
O 181040Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4938
INFO NSC WASHINGTON DC
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 
DIA WASHINGTON DC
CIA WASHDC
AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
S E C R E T TRIPOLI 000490 
 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG AND ISN/CB (FERGUSON); NSC FOR MCDERMOTT 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  6/18/2019 
TAGS: PARM PREL PGOV CWC OPCW LY
SUBJECT: ITALY SAYS GOL DELIBERATELY STALLING ON SIGNING CHEMICAL 
WEAPONS DESTRUCTION CONTRACT REF: STATE 59827 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, U.S. Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(S) This message contains an action request (para 4). xxxxxxxxxxxx told P/E Chief June 17 that xxxxxxxxxxxx in Tripoli assessed that the Government of Libya (GOL) was deliberately delaying the implementation of its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to destroy its remaining stockpile of declared chemical weapons (approximately 25 MT of mustard agent and 860 MT of chemical agent precursor chemicals). The deadline established by the CWC Conference of the States Parties for the destruction of Libya's mustard stockpile is December 31, 2010; destruction of the remaining inventory of precursor chemicals is to be completed no later than December 31, 2011. The Italian company SIPSA has been working with the Libyan side to design and build the Rabta Toxic Chemicals Destruction Facility at which the destruction is to take place; however, the GOL has repeatedly delayed signing a contract with SIPSA. SIPSA has continued its work, but recently told xxxxxxxxxxxx it judged that even if construction were to begin immediately, it was highly unlikely that the GOL would meet the deadlines for destruction of its mustard agent and precursors.

2.(S) xxxxxxxxxxxx told xxxxxxxxxxxx that al-Qadhafi wanted to "play cat and mouse" with the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in an effort to secure further, unspecified compensation for Libya's decision to abandon its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs. xxxxxxxxxxxx offered his assessment that Italy and other European states parties were inclined to view the delay in signing the SIPSA contract as a strictly technical issue for the OPCW, an approach he judged to be mistaken. He said the collective assessment of the xxxxxxxxxxxx in Tripoli was that the GOL was deliberately slow-rolling implementation of its WMD commitments, including the SIPSA contract; however, xxxxxxxxxxxx had been reluctant to raise the issue with the GOL xxxxxxxxxxxx.

3.(S) Comment: The GOL has been credited with having largely met its WMD commitments; however, the recent track record is worrisome and suggests that it may be deliberately delaying implementation of commitments it has undertaken under the rubric of the U.S.-U.K.-Libya Tri-lateral Steering and Coordination Committee (TSCC) and multi-lateral mechanisms such as the OPCW. The GOL has delayed since November 2007 signing a U.S.-Libya agreement for the return of spent nuclear fuel (the HEU-LEU agreement); delayed signing a parallel Russia-Libya agreement; given no detail on plans to sell its uranium yellowcake stockpile; delayed signing the SIPSA contract and delayed providing greater detail on its proposed retention of the sandbag enclosure at the Rabta facility.

4.(S) Action request: Reftel instructs Post to demarche appropriate Libyan officials to urge greater transparency with respect to the status of preparations to destroy its chemical weapons and its proposed retention of the sandbag enclosure. We have requested a meeting with Dr. Ahmed Hesnawy, head of Libya's National CW Authority, to convey the demarche and related non-paper. Post requests guidance from the Department as to whether and how to incorporate the information above on the SIPSA contract and al-Qadhafi's reported intervention into the demarche. CRETZ