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Over the years, Libya’s nuclear program’s progress has suffered from mismanagement, lack of spare parts, and the reluctance of foreign suppliers to provide assistance, particularly since the UN embargo went into effect in 1992. However, Qadhafi had not abandoned his goal of acquiring a nuclear weapon. He continued to try to develop a Libyan nuclear weapons infrastructure. Despite a 25-year effort to acquire or develop a nuclear weapon, Libya’s nuclear program remained in the embryonic stage. Prior to 2003, the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Libya would have a deployable weapon by 2007. Subsequent inspections have since refuted that belief. It had succeeded in providing some training to a number of students and technicians and the establishment of a nuclear research center, which includes a small nuclear research reactor under IAEA safeguards. This facility, located at Tajura, southeast of Tripoli, was provided by the former Soviet Union. Since it was unlikely that Tripoli could produce a weapon without significant and sustained foreign technical assistance, Qadhafi reportedly was trying to recruit nuclear scientists to assist in developing nuclear weapons.
Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by US forces in 2003, Gaddafi announced that his nation had an active weapons of mass destruction program, but was willing to allow international inspectors into his country to observe and dismantle them. US President George W. Bush and other supporters of the Iraq War portrayed Gaddafi's announcement as a direct consequence of the Iraq War by stating that Gaddafi acted out of fear for the future of his own regime if he continued to keep and conceal his weapons. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a supporter of the Iraq War, was quoted as saying that Gaddafi had privately phoned him, admitting as much. Many foreign policy experts, however, contend that Gaddafi's announcement was merely a continuation of his prior attempts at normalizing relations with the West and getting the sanctions removed. To support this, they point to the fact that Libya had already made similar offers starting four years prior to it finally being accepted. International inspectors turned up several tons of chemical weaponry in Libya, as well as an active nuclear weapons program. As the process of destroying these weapons continued, Libya improved its cooperation with international monitoring regimes to the extent that, by March 2006, France was able to conclude an agreement with Libya to develop a significant nuclear power program.
Mustafa Abdel Galil, who resigned three days ago from his post as the country's justice minister, spoke to Al Jazeera at a meeting of tribal leaders and representatives of eastern Libya in the city of Al Baida.
He warned that Gaddafi has biological and chemical weapons, and will not hesitate to use them.
"We call on the international community and the UN to prevent Gaddafi from going on with his plans in Tripoli," he said. "At the end when he’s really pressured, he can do anything. I think Gaddafi will burn everything left behind him."