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US To Restore Full Diplomatic Relations With Libya


The United States has decided to restore full diplomatic relations with Libya for the first time in a quarter century and remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday the actions are in recognition of Libya's commitment to renounce terrorism and abandon its nuclear program.

The State Department says it hopes the change in U.S. relations with Libya will send a message to other nations, particularly Iran and North Korea -- two countries that Washington says are seeking nuclear weapons.

The move comes after years of hostility between the United States and Libya.

Libya was implicated in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco that killed two American soldiers. In response, U.S. aircraft bombed targets in Tripoli and Benghazi, and Washington imposed sanctions against Libya.

Tripoli was also blamed for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

Libya eventually handed over two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing, accepted responsibility, and paid compensation to the victims' families. One of the suspects was convicted.

Eager to end its international isolation, the Libyan leadership made a surprise announcement in late 2003 that it was cutting ties with terrorist groups and giving up efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

The Bush administration responded by lifting some sanctions the following year.
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