BRUSSELS (Feb. 21)
The 12 European Community countries decided here Monday to tighten restrictions on the export of substances that could be used to manufacture weapons of chemical warfare.
The joint move stemmed from the scandal in West Germany, which acknowledged belatedly that several of its chemical firms had been supplying technology and equipment to Libya for a chemical plant at Rabta, south of the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The U.S. government claimed the plant was built to manufacture poison gas, which could then be used by Libyan-supported terrorist groups. Libya says the plant produces only pharmaceuticals.
The E.C. foreign ministers, at their monthly meeting here, listed eight chemicals whose export would be strictly prohibited to countries at war or in areas of tension.
No countries or regions were named. But export licenses will be refused if there is any suspicion that the proscribed chemicals are going to “sensitive” countries.
The community also agreed on measures to detect false documentation by exporters or the rereouting of materials to disguised destinations.
The new rules adopted by the European Community update proposals made in 1984 by the European Executive Commission.
They were not implemented at the time because the community felt the problem was military rather than commercial. The international body has no jurisdiction in defense matters.