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World News: U.S. restoring ties with Libya Black Habits Articles The United States is removing Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and restoring full diplomatic relations with the North African nation.

"We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement. She said Libya's cooperation in combating international terrorism has been "excellent."

The United States has not had formal diplomatic relations with Libya since 1980 when it declared the country a state sponsor of terrorism.

But relations began to thaw between Tripoli and Washington after the country's leader Moammar Gadhafi announced in 2003 that Libya was renouncing terrorism and dismantling its programs of weapons of mass destruction.

"As a direct result of those decisions we have witnessed the beginning of that country's re-emergence into the mainstream of the international community. Today marks the opening of a new era in U.S.-Libya relations that will benefit Americans and Libyans alike," Rice said.

The American diplomatic office in Tripoli will soon be upgraded to a full-fledged embassy, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said.

Libya had been held responsible in a number of attacks including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which claimed 270 lives, most of them American.

But in August 2003, Libya agreed to take responsibility for the actions of its agents in the Lockerbie bombing and paid $2.7 billion US to the families of the 270 victims.

A year later, Libya signed a deal to pay $170 million US to the families of 170 people killed in the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner over Niger.
Posted on Sunday, May 21 @ 00:00:00 MST by jcohen



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