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Libya Warned To Halt Weapons Plant

Thu., April 4, 1996

U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry said on Wednesday that the United States would not allow Libya to complete an underground chemical weapons plant and would not rule out a military attack if Libya does not halt its chemical weapons program.

Perry issued the warning after presenting President Hosni M. Mubarak of Egypt with a detailed report on the plant, which is under construction in Tarhuna, 40 miles southeast of Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

Asked at a news conference if the United States would allow the Libyans to open the plant, Perry replied bluntly: “No. I don’t want to comment any further than that, but no.”

Asked whether the United States would use force to halt Libya’s chemical weapons program, Perry replied: “I wouldn’t rule anything out or anything in.”

Perry’s remarks appeared to put the United States once again on a collision course with the government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the Libyan leader, who has insisted that the plant at Tarhuna is intended to store irrigation water.

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