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Nuclear watchdog head meets Libyans on WMDs

Gadhafi's son: Iraq conflict irrelevant to Libyan offer

President Bush says Col. Moammar Gadhafi has agreed to let international weapons inspectors enter Libya.
President Bush says Col. Moammar Gadhafi has agreed to let international weapons inspectors enter Libya.

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CNN's David Ensor reports that Libya has a sizeable stockpile of chemical weapons, but appears to have stopped producing them years ago.
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President Bush announces that Libya has agreed to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.
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(CNN) -- U.N. nuclear watchdog director Mohamed ElBaradei met Saturday with a senior Libyan official in Vienna to discuss Tripoli's plans to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program.

"They met this afternoon ... for more than an hour" at the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky told CNN.

Libya's six-member delegation was led by Dr. Matug Muhammed Matug, secretary of the National Board of Scientific Research, Gwozdecky said. Though he said he was not sure whether the group returned to Tripoli, "their official business is complete now."

Asked whether further meetings were planned, Gwozdecky said, "I wish I could tell you. On Monday, all will be revealed."

Libya announced Friday that, after meetings with U.S. and British officials that began in March, it would get rid of its banned weapons programs.

Along with former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, ElBaradei headed the international inspection teams in Iraq before the start of the U.S.-led war.

The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi told CNN Saturday that "the capture of Saddam or the invasion of Iraq is irrelevant" to Libya's announcement that it is to abandon its weapons of mass destruction program.

"In fact, we started the cooperation even before the invasion of Iraq and we decided to announce it, the outcome of that cooperation, two weeks ago," Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi told CNN's Andrea Koppel.

"Really it was a long and tough secret negotiation for nine months, and two weeks ago we closed the deal and we said, 'OK, done deal, announce it,'" he said.

However, Blix said he suspected Moammar "Gadhafi could have been scared by what he saw happen in Iraq."

Interviewed in Stockholm, Sweden, Blix said Libya's moves were "welcome," although the Libyans "may be exaggerating ... a bit" in their disclosures about what components they may have had.

Blix: We have to learn what they have

"I think we have to learn what did they have," Blix said. "They say that they will adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty for nuclear weapons. They are already party to that treaty, and they have had inspections for years." (Full story)

Gadhafi said Libya's intent in entering into the agreement was to gain access to defensive weapons and banned technology, to have sanctions against it lifted and "to eliminate any threats against Libya from the West and from the [United] States in particular."

But family members of those killed by a Libyan bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103 -- 15 years ago Sunday -- were not so pleased with the deal.

Bert Ammerman, a spokesman for the families of those killed who lost his brother in the bombing, said it was "very cynical" to see U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair call the agreement "a major step forward when they're dealing with an individual that was totally responsible for massacring 189 Americans at 31,000 feet."

Earlier this year, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing and agreed to pay up to $10 million to the families of each of the 270 people killed -- 259 aboard the plane and 11 on the ground. In September, the U.N. lifted sanctions it had imposed on Libya.

U.S. sanctions remain in place, and Bush said it was still too early to consider lifting them.

Ammerman said he supports wholeheartedly going after the leaders of countries that sponsor terrorism and that Gadhafi "has a proven track record of state-sponsored terrorism."

"If someone else was in power, I'd be here supporting it, saying that today's enemy is tomorrow's friend, but not Gadhafi," he said.

'Libya was under threat'

The Libyan leader's son, however, said labeling Libya a sponsor of terrorism was misunderstanding the situation.

Two years before the Pan Am bombing, President Ronald Reagan had ordered U.S. warplanes to strike at Tripoli. The bombing killed Gadhafi's adopted daughter.

"In the past, we terrorized our enemies and we have the right to terrorize our enemies because they bombed our cities, they killed our people, they terrorized our people and we have the right to retaliate, but now the story is totally different," Gadhafi said.

"We don't have President Reagan anymore ... therefore we have to change our policy also and now we have a different administration, a friendly policy towards them."

Gadhafi said that "Libya was under pressure, under threat, sufficient American threat" to enter into negotiations.

"As soon as we realized there was no hidden agenda, there is no real threat against Libya and we can solve all problems through amicable ways, we responded and we became very transparent," he said.

Now, Gadhafi said, the three nations have entered into "a win-win deal" with Libya hoping for more access to defensive weapons and an end to sanctions -- moves Bush said could come to pass but not until it's certain Libya will stick to its end of the bargain.

But Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-Proliferation Project of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, a non-profit, nonpartisan research institute, questioned the administration's play on the deal.

"We don't know what to make of these reports coming out from the White House yesterday," Cirincione told CNN. "Some administration officials are playing it up, saying Libya was close to a nuclear capability. I don't think that's likely the case. They didn't have much of a serious effort going on here." (Full story)

More importantly, Cirincione said, would be Libya's destruction of its chemical weapons program. "They may have had the capability to produce some biological agent ... as well," he said.


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