(VOA Editorial)  (360)

(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America November 3,

reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)

Libyan dictator Muammar Al-Qadhafi is continuing Libya's chemical weapons

program in defiance of international efforts to ban chemical weapons

1roduction, stockpiling and use.  In recent years, the Qadhafi regime has

turned to private contractors from Thailand and other countries to

construct facilities for storing a variety of chemical weapons, including

nerve gases.  The government of Thailand recently moved to prevent its

citizens from assisting Libya's chemical weapons build-up.  The United

States welcomes this action by the Thai government.

Three years ago, the United States determined that the facility at Rabta, 60

miles south of Tripoli, was the largest chemical weapons plant in the

developing world.  The chemical agents believed to be in production at

Rabta include mustard gas -- used with terrible effect in the First World

War -- and a lethal nerve gas called sarin.

Such weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a major state sponsor of

international terrorism should be a serious concern to all nations.  Some

30 insurgent and terrorist groups worldwide have received Libyan training,

weapons, money and other forms of support.  Libya's intelligence service

was directly responsible for the bombings of Pan American flight 103 in

1988 and UTA flight 772 in 1989.  More than 400 men, women and children

lost their lives in those savage acts of international terrorism.  The

Qadhafi regime still refuses to comply with U.N. resolutions calling on

Libya to hand over for trial in the United States and Britain those

suspected in the Pan Am bombing and to cooperate with the French

investigation of the UTA bombing.

In addition to supporting terrorism and subversion, the Libyan dictator has

launched his military on campaigns of aggression against Chad in 1980 and

again in 1983.  In April 1987, Qadhafi suffered a disastrous defeat in Chad

-- losing nearly a quarter of his invasion force.

Chemical weapons vastly increase Libya's capacity for aggression and

terrorism.  The United States calls on all nations to help keep such

weapons of mass destruction out of Qadhafi's hands.