British reports: Libya provides intelligence on al-Qaeda activists; Bush, Blair plan to meet Gaddafi
Libya provided intelligence on hundreds of al-Qaeda and other Muslim fighters, in addition to renouncing attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, in its bid to end its pariah nation status, a British newspaper reported on Sunday.
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's moves came as part of a deal to have United States sanctions against his country lifted, said the Observer. The paper reported that Libya's vow to give up attempts to develop nuclear, chemical and biological arms came after two years of talks centered on London in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden's network September 11 attacks on the US.
Meanwhile, another British paper The Sunday Telegraph reported that Libya's promise to surrender its weapons of mass destruction, announced late Friday by Britain and the US, was forced by the seizure of physical evidence of Gaddafi's weapons program.
US officials told the paper that Washington's hand was strengthened in negotiations with Gaddafi after a successful operation, previously undisclosed, to intercept transport suspected of carrying banned weapons.
The Telegraph said a top US State Department official confirmed last week that the Proliferation Security Initiative, an international, US-led scheme to halt the spread of banned weapons by seizing them in transit, had "netted several seizures."
In a related development, the British Prime Ministry would not confirm a report in The Sunday Times that Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush would meet Gaddafi to seal their agreement to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction. A spokesman for Blair told AFP: "There are no plans for this."
The Times, citing an unnamed senior British government official, said the talks would take place in the next few months on "neutral territory". (Albawaba.com)
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