Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spokesman: U.S-Liyba relations have long-way to go

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Tuesday that it's relations with former rival Libya has a long way to go although the Libyan government has made a 1.5-billion-dollarpayment to compensate victims of terrorism.

"The relationship with Libya's come a long way. But it has a long, long way to go, specifically in terms of freedoms, universally recognized freedoms in Libya. We're going to continue to work on those issues," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a news briefing.

On Aug. 14, the United States and Libya signed in Tripoli a compensation agreement for American victims of Libyan attacks and U.S. reprisals.

The agreement calls for the creation of a 1.8 billion U.S. dollars fund: 1.5 billion dollars for American victims and 300 million dollars to Libyan victims of U.S. airstrikes ordered in retaliation for the disco bombing.

Referring to reports that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Gadhafi is visiting Washington, McCormack said that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch has met with Seif.

Seif, who doesn't have any official position except head of the Gadhafi Foundation, is here "on a private visit," McCormack noted, adding that "He's a person that has an interest in Libya's future and where Libya's headed."

The United States had no diplomatic relations with Libya from 1980 until after the latter pledged to abandon weapons of mass destruction programs, stop exporting terrorism and pay compensation to the families of victims of two of the three attacks.

Since renouncing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in 2003, Libya is no longer on the State Department's list of "state sponsors of terrorism."

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