LONDON, (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi has complained that Western countries have failed to properly compensate Libya for scrapping its nuclear arms programme and as a result countries like Iran and North Korea would not follow his lead.
Speaking on the 30th anniversary of his declaration of Libya as a Jamahiriyah (state of the masses), Gaddafi told the BBC in an interview broadcast late on Friday that the West had failed to help transform his nuclear weapons programme into nuclear power. “This should be a model to be followed. But Libya is disappointed because the promises given by America and Britain so that we could give up our capabilities were not fulfilled,” the BBC Web site quoted Gaddafi as saying. “And therefore those countries said ‘we are not going to follow Libya’s example because Libya abolished its programme without any compensation’,” he added.
Libya agreed in 2003 to abandon its nuclear arms programme and allow access to international weapons inspectors. The move further helped bring the North African Arab country back into the international fold after years of isolation. “They said if you abolish your war programme we will help you to develop your nuclear abilities into peaceful ones. This has not happened,” Gaddafi said.
The United States has publicly voiced hopes that Iran and North Korea would follow Libya’s example.
Last month, North Korea agreed to take steps to abandon its nuclear weapons under a deal that could bring the impoverished communist state some $300 million in aid.
Iran is also under pressure to suspend nuclear activities the West fears is aimed at building a nuclear bomb. Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes.