Posted: 12/31/2003 11:44:45 AM EDT
well we now know why ghadaffi (kadaffi) whatever-
was scared of pending US actions..
here is the lastest scoop.
CRAWFORD, Texas - The U.S. government on Wednesday confirmed that an illegal shipment of uranium-enrichment equipment was intercepted en route to Libya's nuclear weapons program nearly three months ago.
Some officials said they believe the intercept of thousands of centrifuge parts at an Italian port may have helped persuade Libya to give up its unconventional weapons programs and to open its weapons sites to British and American inspectors, a step announced Dec. 19.
A State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, said that may be so but "let's not jump to conclusions" about what triggered Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's decision.
The United States and Britain plan to send experts to Libya in January to analyze the extent of Libya's nuclear program and its quest for biological and chemical weapons as well as modern missiles.
The interception of centrifuge parts bound for Libya in early October was reported in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. The Bush administration then confirmed the story with few details and no explanation of why it was not disclosed earlier.
The seizure followed the opening of talks with Britain and the United States about Libya submitting its programs to international inspection.
It wasn't clear why Libya sought to import the parts necessary for enriching uranium well after those discussions had begun. Mid-level Libyan officials may not have received or understood signals from the country's top leaders that the country was moving to end its weapons program, two senior American officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday.
The officials also made clear Wednesday that American and British authorities plan to play a prominent role in weapons inspections inside Libya, cooperating with the chief U.N. weapons inspector.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that he does not want American or British help on the ground in Libya.
"As far as I'm concerned, we have the mandate, and we intend to do it alone," ElBaradei said.
But one of the senior American officials insisted American and British authorities would participate, hinting at possible tensions with the U.N. chief on the issue.
"The IAEA is in there because of what we uncovered," the U.S. official said. "The Libyans came to us and the British."
The official said the United States would, along with the British, ensure that all of the programs are "verified, monitored and eliminated."
Libya opened talks with the United States and Britain about its weapons programs in March, when its leaders said they wanted to "clear the field" on the matter, the American officials said. The American and British officials interpreted this language as something short of an admission of weapons programs.
For months, the American and British officials could not pin Libya's leadership down on a date when the Westerners could first visit the country to begin their work.
But soon after the British and American officials confronted Tripoli with information about the centrifuge parts intercept, the Libyans agreed on a date in mid-October, one American official said.
The shipment bound for Libya originated in a Persian Gulf port, but the officials declined to identify the country Wednesday. Nor would they say which country or countries may have supplied the centrifuge parts, citing ongoing investigations.
In September, British and American intelligence authorities learned a German freighter was to depart the Gulf port bearing centrifuge equipment, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The intelligence agencies alerted their German counterparts, who contacted the ship's owner.
The German shipper, BBC Chartering and Logistic GmbH, ordered the ship to divert to the Italian port. There, British and American authorities discovered the centrifuge parts, which can be used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.
While uranium-enrichment is also a step in the process of producing nuclear energy, Libya has no such energy program. Libya admitted the equipment was for its nuclear weapons program, a senior U.S. official said.
The seizure came as part of a U.S.-led international effort to halt commerce in weapons of mass destruction. President Bush (news - web sites) announced the creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative in May, when 11 countries including Germany and Italy agreed to strengthen their capabilities to interdict suspect weapons by land, sea or air.
Dozens of other countries have since said they want to participate in the program. U.S. officials went out of their way to praise the Germans and Italians for their work in seizing the cargo.
But the seizure of weapons at a time when Libya was talking about abandoning just such programs could also raise questions about whether the Libyans can be trusted. Gadhafi has agreed to halt his nation's drive to develop nuclear and chemical weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them.
A senior administration official said it was "a classic trust-but-verify issue," and said Libya appeared to be acting in good faith to dismantle its illicit weapons programs. Its government has provided an "enormous" amount of information about its programs and has taken steps
this has been called a "premptive surrender" by kodfish, er, I mean Kadaffie...whatever