First Published: 2005-08-23

 
Flags to fly soon to mark US-Libya ties
 

Kadhafi’s son calls for international investors to take advantage of economic opening in Libya.

 

Middle East Online

Diplomatic ties between US and Libya were restored in June 2004

By Afaf el-Geblawi - TRIPOLI

The Libyan and US flags will soon be flying in Washington and Tripoli to mark a new page in diplomatic ties after decades of enmity, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son said in an interview with AFP.

"The American flag will be raised in Libya and the Libyan flag hoisted in the United States in the next few days," Seif el-Islam said Monday, apparently referring to the opening of embassies.

Diplomatic relations were restored in June 2004 after a 24-year rupture following Kadhafi's surprise announcement the previous December that he was giving up the quest for weapons of mass destruction.

However, a senior US official said in Washington that he was not aware of any imminent opening of a US embassy in Libya. "I think there are some issues to be resolved as far as I understand," he said.

Currently the two nations are represented in each other's capital by liaison offices.

"I think that we have certainly come a long way from where we were in our relationship with Libya, but there are certainly issues that still need to be addressed and we're working with Libya on these issues," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"If they continue to make progress along the pathway that we have laid out, we, again, will meet their acts of good faith in return," he told reporters.

"We will see how the relationship evolves. But the relationship will evolve in a way that reflects actions and facts on the ground."

El-Islam's comments follow a weekend visit to the once pariah state by influential US Senator Richard Lugar, who said Kadhafi had expressed hope US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would visit.

Kadhafi's son, who said he himself would travel to the United States soon to open a first exhibition of his paintings in that country, also foresaw the removal of Libya from a US list of alleged state sponsors of terrorism.

The move would come "before the end of the year... following the serious efforts of the two parties to resolve this question", he said.

Kadhafi's diplomatic reversal was sparked after Tripoli denounced terrorism and acknowledged responsibility for the Lockerbie and French UTA plane bombings in the 1980s, paying out millions in compensation.

El-Seif, who heads the Kadhafi Foundation charitable organisation, also called for international investors "to take advantage of the economic opening in Libya", stressing his country had "no problems with Europe nor with the United States".

The Libyan economy is "going through a transitional period after the decision to privatise the public sector which the state was not managing to run", he said.

But the country was going through difficulties because of "differences between supporters and opponents of privatisation".

The government has announced plans to privatise 360 public companies between 2004 and 2008, following the transfer of 48 industrial, agricultural and maritime firms from the public to the private sectors in 2003.

On the political front, "decrees and laws are in the process of being drawn up to encourage the emergence of a free press and independent radios", the Libyan leader's son said.

"It is the right of a journalist to write what he wants and to ignore the instructions he is handed, but it also the state's right to question journalists on some of their writings," he said.

Lugar said after his visit that he had discussed human rights and economic cooperation with Kadhafi as well as efforts to have Libya removed from the terrorism list.

Tripoli had "adopted a definitive position on the matter" of terrorism and there has been a "major and progressive" improvement in relations between the two countries, the senator said.

 

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down

IS ‘executed’ 116 suspected of Syria regime collaboration

Israel arrests 51 Palestinians for ‘terror-related’ crimes

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

UNICEF says 1,100 children malnourished in Syria’s Ghouta

UN says Yemen children in desperate need of aid

Orthodox Jews block Jerusalem entrance in protest

Six terror suspects arrested in Morocco

EU announces 106 million euros in aid for Sudan

French judges to rule on whether 'Jihad' is acceptable name

Saudi Aramco chief confirms IPO despite doubts

Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

Sudan editor convicted after Bashirs accused of graft

Russia’s Lavrov urges Iraq-Kurd dialogue

Kurds to arrest 11 Iraqis in response to similar Baghdad move

Car bomb attack kills 9 in south Yemen military base

Rouhani boasts about Iran’s greatness in region

Iraq unrest highlights long-standing political divisions

Bahrain temporarily frees female activist

Egypt court sentences 11 people to death for 'terrorism'

Israel police arrest 15 over anti Jewish-Arab dating campaign

Tillerson woos Gulf allies to curb Iran influence

Abadi, Sadr meet in Jordan

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

Gulf share values plummet

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike