October 14, 2011
From Slobodan Lekic, the AP: Terrorist groups have expressed interest in obtaining some of the thousands of shoulder-launched missiles that have gone missing in Libya and the issue has become a priority for the Obama administration, a senior U.S. official said Friday.
Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, said Friday the missiles “could pose a threat to civil aviation.”
“We know that terrorist groups have expressed interest in obtaining these weapons,” he said, adding that the issue issue of securing the weapons was a priority for President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. . . .
The State Department had sent 15 specialists to Libya to track down the weapons and plans to increase the number to 50 soon, Shapiro said, adding the U.S. has allocated $30 million to the effort. . . .
Also on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that although the missing weapons were a matter of concern, “it’s not a part of NATO’s mandate to deal with that.”
He said that according to a U.N. Security Council resolution it was the responsibility of the new authorities in Libya to make sure the stockpiles of weapons are monitored and controlled effectively.
“But I know that individual NATO allies are also engaging with the new authorities to help them fulfill that task.” Fogh Rasmussen said in an AP interview. (photo: Reuters