US to restore diplomatic ties with Libya
The US has announced that it is restoring diplomatic ties with Libya and removing it from a blacklist of countries
that the US claims sponsor terrorism.
"We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. Rice also spoke of "the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001".
Libya will be removed from the list of terror-supporting countries after a 45-day waiting period. US Secretary for
Near Eastern Affairs David Welch announced that Libya would be removed from the annual list of counties that have
failed to cooperate with US anti-terrorism efforts immediately. Welch denied that the US decision had anything to do
with sustained lobbying by US oil interests seeking to do business with Libya.
"This decision was not undertaken because Libya has oil, this decision was undertaken because they've addressed our national security concerns," he said. Welch added that "Libya remains a problematic place to do business".
Libya's Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Shalgam, told the decision would "certainly open a new chapter in the relations
of the two countries".
The chief of the Libyan liaison office in Washington, DC, Ali Aujali, lauded the US decision.
"This is a great day in the Libyan-American relations," he said, adding, "Both parties worked very hard to achieve what we have achieved."
"Today's announcements are tangible results that flow from the historic decisions taken by Libya's leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs," Rice said.
Libya has been on the US State Department's list of terror-sponsoring states since 1979.
Diplomatic ties were severed in 1980.