RealNews

State Dept. Official Meets With Gaddafi on Relations

For the first time in almost a quarter-century, a senior U.S. official held talks with Moammar Gaddafi yesterday, handing the Libyan leader a letter from President Bush on improving U.S.-Libyan relations. Assistant Secretary of State William J. Burns and a delegation of State Department and National Security Council officials discussed the next steps in deepening diplomatic, commercial and security ties during a visit to Tripoli that was not announced in advance. In “very constructive” talks, Burns praised Libya for “excellent progress” in fulfilling its obligation to destroy its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a State Department statement released late yesterday. “It’s the turning of a page. It’s the opening of a formal dialogue on a senior official level,” said a State Department official involved in Middle East policy. The last talks between a senior U.S. official and Gaddafi were in 1980, several months after a Libyan mob attacked the U.S. Embassy. Full Story

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