ad info

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
   africa
   americas
   asianow
   europe
   middle east
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:

 

World - Africa

U.S. claims more evidence linking Sudanese plant to chemical weapons

plant
The destroyed Shifa Pharmaceutical facility  
September 1, 1998
Web posted at: 7:01 p.m. EDT (2301 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States had been suspicious of the Shifa Pharmaceutical facility in Sudan for two years, a State Department official said Tuesday, after a December 1996 report showed heavy security around the plant.

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon
Windows Media 28K 56K

The U.S. also had evidence of ties between Saudi-born millionaire Osama bin Laden and Sudan's military industrial complex, the official said.

"We had previously collected samples from other suspected sites in Sudan," the official said, "but only the sample from the Shifa facility tested positively for chemical weapons precursors. We know of no other factors in the environment that could result in a positive EMPTA signature."

Extra

  • Foreign Service officers undaunted by bombings

  • Mideast, African embassies tighten security after bombings

  • Protecting embassies difficult ... and probably impossible

  • U.S. victims in Friday's bombing in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Chronology of attacks on U.S. targets

  • Image gallery

  • Message board: Africa explosions

  • EMPTA, the VX nerve gas precursor found in the soil samples, can be used in "certain insecticides, as the germination inhibitor for wheat, or in a chemical weapons test kit," the official said. "But after extensive research we have found no indication that EMPTA has ever been used commercially in any of these applications.

    "We have high confidence that the laboratory that analyzed the Sudanese samples and ultimately detected EMPTA did so correctly and in accordance with scientifically accepted procedures and protocols. The lab has a long history of doing quality analysis," the official said.

    Tying Shifa to bin Laden

    The U.S. knew bin Laden had been pursuing the development of chemical weapons "within his organization and in cooperation with Sudan's National Islamic Front," the official said. Bin Laden had worked with the Sudanese in the 1990s to test "various poisonous substances and to improve techniques for using and producing them," the official said.

    Bin Laden "has provided significant funding for Sudan to build its military-industrial complex," the official said. The National Islamic Front's leader Hassan al-Turabi has said bin Laden's organization would "furnish weapons and munitions for use against enemies of Islam."

    bin Laden
    bin Laden  

    The official said a number of sources had indicated the owner of the Shifa plant was a "front man or agent for bin Laden." The manager lives in the house previously occupied by bin Laden when he lived in Sudan, the official said, and other reports indicated a bin Laden money manager claimed bin Laden had invested in Shifa.

    The U.S. also believes Iraq has been a "foreign benefactor" of Sudan's chemical weapons efforts.

    "Iraq admitted to UNSCOM that it planned to produce VX for its CW program using the EMPTA process," the official said. "And prior to the Sudanese soil sample, Iraq was the only country we knew of to have pursued this production process."

    Additionally, Shifa officials were in contact with Iraq about its VX program, the official said. Shifa had signed an agreement to provide veterinary drugs to Iraq as part of the oil-for-food program, but according to the United Nations, the contracted material was never delivered.

    Related stories:
    Latest Headlines

    Today on CNN

    Related sites:

    Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

    External sites are not
    endorsed by CNN Interactive.

    SEARCH CNN.com
    Enter keyword(s)   go    help

      
     

    Back to the top
    © 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines.