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Blair: Gadhafi's Decision to Dismantle Banned Weapons 'Historic and Courageous'


British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced late Friday that Libya will dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Making an unscheduled address from Durham, England, Mr. Blair announced that talks that began last March have now reached the point where Libya has agreed to eliminate all of its weapons of mass destruction.

"Nine months of work have followed with experts from American and Britain during which the Libyans discussed their programs with us," he said. "As a result, Libya has now declared its intention to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction completely and to limit the range of Libyan missiles to no greater than 300 kilometers in accordance with the parameters set by the missile technology control regime."

Mr. Blair called Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's decision historic and courageous. The British leader also said it shows that countries can rid themselves of such deadly weapons in a peaceful way where dialogue can lead to successful results.

"Today's announcement however shows that we can fight this threat through more than purely military means," he said. "That we can defeat it peacefully if countries are prepared in good faith to work with the international community to dismantle such weapons. Those countries which pursue such a peaceful path will find ready partners in the United States and the U.K. and other allies as Libya will see."

Mr. Blair said he has been assured that the dismantling process will be transparent and verifiable. And because of its decision to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, the British leader said that Libya is now entitled to rejoin the international community.

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