The United States plans to conduct three-way talks with the United Kingdom and Libya prior to U.S. and British experts conducting an assessment of Libya’s nuclear program, the Associated Press reported yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 6).
The United States began meeting with the United Kingdom last week on the issue, with a visit by Undersecretary of State John Bolton to London. After further U.S.-British meetings, senior Libyan officials will also take part, a senior U.S. official said (Barry Schweid, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Jan. 6).
The Financial Times reported today that U.S. and British officials are expected to meet with Libyan experts over the next week to plan the dismantlement of Libyan WMD programs. The International Atomic Energy Agency, though, will not take part in the meetings, but will instead be later briefed by a U.S.-British team, according to Western diplomats in Vienna (Roula Khalaf, Financial Times, Jan. 7).
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said yesterday, however, that the IAEA would be the lead agency in monitoring Libya’s disarmament.
“It was the atomic agency that sent in a team to follow through, it is the atomic agency that is going to inspect to ensure that Libya is really going to be rid of weapons of mass destruction,” Annan said (Schweid, Associated Press).
Pakistan Investigating Proliferation Claims, U.S. Says
Meanwhile, the United States has said that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is investigating claims that Pakistani centrifuge designs were used in Libya’s nuclear program.
While refusing to confirm a recent New York Times report that Pakistan was the source of Libya’s centrifuge technology, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell noted past U.S. concerns about possible Pakistani proliferation.
“I’m very pleased now that President Musharraf is aggressively moving to investigate all of that,” Powell said.
In addition, the White House has suggested that “rogue” Pakistani scientists interested in “personal gain” may be responsible for the proliferation of Pakistani nuclear technology (Channel NewsAsia, Jan. 7).