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US backs conversion of weapons plant to AIDS drug plant

The US has agreed to help Libya convert its Rabta chemical weapons plant near the capital, Tripoli, into a factory for drugs to treat AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases.

According to the Washington Times, the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons this week approved "technical changes" to the global treaty on chemical arms to make the conversion possible.

The Bush administration said it was "very supportive" of Libya and urged the council to endorse the plant's conversion "to produce low-cost pharmaceuticals to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, for use mainly in Africa."

The State Department said, "The process of conversion and the facility, once converted, will be subject to international verification to ensure that no materials are misused for chemical weapons purposes."

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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