View Full Version : Libya seeks diplomatic ties with US

22 Dec 03,, 04:34

Libya Wants Diplomatic Ties With U.S.
1 hour, 19 minutes ago

By JASPER MORTIMER, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt - Libya hopes to reopen relations with the West and gain lucrative oil contracts blocked by U.S. sanctions as well as reap other economic benefits by abolishing weapons of mass destruction.

Under the surprise disarmament agreement by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Tripoli will open its nuclear activities to spot inspections by the U.N. watchdog agency, a diplomat said Sunday. Libya believes that decision, made Saturday as a Libyan delegation met with International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohamed ElBaradei, will return the country to the good graces of the international community.

"We are turning our swords into ploughshares, and this step should be appreciated and followed by all other countries," Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told the British Broadcasting Corp. a clear reference to the United States, the one country that maintains sweeping sanctions.

The United States imposed sanctions in 1986, accusing Libya of supporting terrorist groups. Ten years later, America passed the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act that threatened to penalize the U.S. partners of European companies that did significant business in Libya and Iran.

When the U.N. Security Council voted to abolish its sanctions on Libya in September, the deputy U.S. ambassador to the world body, James Cunningham, said U.S. sanctions on Libya would remain "in full force."

Cunningham accused Gadhafi of actively developing biological and chemical weapons, upgrading its nuclear infrastructure, and seeking ballistic missiles to deliver weapons of mass destruction.

With Friday's decision, Libya believes it has wiped the slate clean.

"What Gadhafi is striving for is reacceptance into the community of nations," said Henry Schuler, a Libyan specialist who has met Gadhafi and spent eight years in the North African country as an American diplomat and an oil company executive.

So far, Gadhafi seems to be winning friends, even in places where he might not want them.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said Sunday that the move on weapons of mass destruction could lead to his country's establishing relations with Libya.

"There is no conflict or animosity with the Libyan people. We are definitely willing to have relations with any nation or country in the world that is willing to recognize Israel as a sovereign or free country," Peled said.

However, Libya's state-run press made clear that Israel would have to follow suit with its weaponry.

The Al-Jamahiriya newspaper said Libya's decision had reversed the "race" to produce weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and placed "exceptional pressure on Israel" to come clean on its nuclear weapons, which the Jewish state has neither admitted nor denied possessing.

In Cairo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites) said Libya's move will have an "echo in the world including Israel, which should remove its weapons of mass destruction."

Saad Djabbar, a North African expert at Cambridge University, said what Libya seeks is normalization with the United States and the removal of all sanctions.

American oil companies own joint-venture concessions in the Libyan oil fields, but sanctions have blocked them from developing those fields. Oil experts say their Libyan state partners are now operating the fields, but at levels far below their potential.

"With U.S. investment, Libya can become a world class oil producer," oil industry consultant Peter Gignoux told The Associated Press. The American companies "hold the best concessions and they have got very good technology."

Djabbar said Libya knows that once American companies have re-established themselves, "they would enhance the pro-Libyan lobby in Washington."

He believes the move on weapons of mass destruction will allow Libyan scientists to return to American universities and acquire the technical know-how Libya needs.

However, Schuler, the former diplomat, believes Gadhafi decided to abolish weapons of mass destruction for political and diplomatic reasons. "It's to enhance Gadhafi's historic reputation and to pave the way for Seif Gadhafi or one of the other sons to take over," he said.

As long as Libya is cut off from the United States and on the State Department's list of terrorist-sponsoring nations, "Gadhafi bears the terrorist stigma of the past and the prospects of him passing the mantle of leadership to his son are diminished."

Gignoux also said regime stability was key.

"The threat of regime change has been removed now," he said. "Gadhafi has gotten off the hook."

Yet while Schuler said Libya could develop the American oil fields by itself exploiting its joint ownership and advanced technology from other Western states Gignoux argued there was no substitute to American investment.

"American oil field technology is really stunning, it's second-to-none," he said. In the absence of American investment, "the Italians have been operating in Libya, but the results have been limited."

22 Dec 03,, 05:05
Hmm.... maybe we should start investing in Lybia.

22 Dec 03,, 13:36
The US will ... 2006 :)

22 Dec 03,, 20:17
I think America would have liked to invest in Libya long ago. It used t be an ally many years ago and its cities were beautifull. Therent arent many opportunities to invest in big business in Africa but the oil fields between Libya and Egypt would be prime realestate for any company. It is hard to get attitudes to change though when it comes to what we have classified as rogue nations for so long. It is easy for washington to mouth a change in policy, but it takes a whole lot longer for people in and around Libya to see enough change to deispense with any biases that may be help against a nation. This will be interesting to see where this goes, especially if they really try to establich relations with Israel, but continue to press their terms of israel coming clean. That would be huge international pressure on Israel. Here you have a former rogue nation trying to humbly bring itself into the fold and one nation holding out. Well I guess Israel has done it before. But regardless, I dont think Israel will have a huge impact on what Libya does or doesnt do. Lybia has to much to gain from the rest of the international community.

23 Dec 03,, 00:14
I still want to see them do, what they say they're going to, first. I recieve only limited encouragement from G's words.

23 Dec 03,, 00:29
I agree totally. However there has to be slight concessions as things go on in time. If we excpect Libya to give all to the international community without an enticement along the way the end will never come that we are aiming for, which is, full compliance and a return to good standing in the world markets. If that aim is never reached we can use them for a nuclear testing ground.

23 Dec 03,, 00:43
Originally posted by Hawg 166
However there has to be slight concessions as things go on in time.
Sure, I'd even support big concessions for big changes. If they're telling the truth it would be fine, to me, to make an example of them. A good example, by providing more assistance than they ask/require for their people.

Originally posted by Hawg 166
If that aim is never reached we can use them for a nuclear testing ground.
I hope not. :-(

23 Dec 03,, 21:40
As i understand it (and i am sur some one will correct me :). Laws were passed in the US congress in 1986 regarding snactions and prohibiting US companies getting involved in Libya.

Those laws run out in 2006. US companies are concerned that they are having a march stolen on them by other companies, especially in the oil area and they want to getin there.

MI6 had an old communication channel to Gaddafi regarding Lockerbie. After the Lockerbie settlement that channel was then used by both the UK/US and Libya to try and get Libya rehabilitated. This started in March, at about the same time the invasion of GWII started.

The motivation for Libya is obviously so there are no US tanks in Tripoli, but this wasn't a decision Gaddafi made in December. The motivation for the US is oil. If they can get Libya in shape by 2006 then those laws can lapse without need for any messy voting etc in Congress.

The upside for everyone else is one less country with WMDs.

It is win/win, with only those families of the Lockerbie victims upset (they have already been on saying that Gaddafi cannot be rehabilitated etc).

24 Dec 03,, 00:28
"(they have already been on saying that Gaddafi cannot be rehabilitated etc)."

I would tend to agree.....which is why the US is obviously interested in making him a puppet.

Better for Libya to dance at the end of our strings than someone else's.

24 Dec 03,, 03:09
Originally posted by M21Sniper
I would tend to agree.....which is why the US is obviously interested in making him a puppet.

Better for Libya to dance at the end of our strings than someone else's.

Better for the Us, but would probably make Libya a target for some form of terrorism (like has happnee diwth the Saudis to some extent).

I am surprised that the US didn't press for democtractic refroms.

24 Dec 03,, 05:14
Momar is bedou at heart and he always will be. I am an old blue blooded yankee capitalist that believes in core nations and peripheral nations, but some nations just cant be democratic. Better costitutional monarchies or parliaments than nothing at all. The democratic reforms thing gets old. Too much freedom is bad and you always end up with too much corruption to quickly. I also hate the puppet thing. But as much as I hate it, I believe in it firmly so yes make them our puppet before anyone elses.

24 Dec 03,, 20:39
Different systems work for different peoples. Constitutional monarchies work well in some countries, Greko-roman systems in others. Whichever system, the people have to be ready for democracy and usually have to have fought for it.

This is why i think it will work in Iraq (Saddam's bogus elections were at least elections) but probably why it won't work in Afghanistan.

I don't know enough of Libya's history to know if it will work there. However the problem with puppets is that they can be seen as that, and Tripoli could be the new Baghdad.