Libya, U.S. Begin Secret Dialogue for Normalisation
Libyan sources in Cairo indicate that Libya and the U.S. last week commenced secretly a political dialogue in London.
The discussions aimed at probing key issues between the two countries, namely the Lockerbie affair.
Representing the U.S. was William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, while the Libyan side was headed by Mohammed El-Zawi, the ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Abdel Ati El-Oubedi, the Libyan Ambassador to Rome.
In the past, the two countries launched a political dialogue in New York. The Libyan ambassador to the U.N., Abu Zaid Durda has represented his country in these talks.
The sources told the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat daily that the main problem between the two nations remains the Lockerbie Affair, since the American Administration demands that Libya officially recognize its responsibility for bombing the Pan AM plane over Lockerbie in Scotland, and thus pay compensation to the families of the victims.
The Libyan sources believe that in the near future, relations between the two countries will improve substantially, despite U.S. sanctions against Libya.
On December 21, 1988, a Pan Am Boeing 747 en route from Frankfurt to New York exploded over the village of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board.
In recent months, Libyan leader, Colonel Ghadafi, has taken an increasingly pragmatic approach in relations with Western countries. The American oil embargo against Libya goes back before Lockerbie to 1986, when President Reagan ordered four U.S. oil companies to withdraw from Libya because of its alleged links with terrorism. Recently, President Bush renewed the unilateral embargo for a further five years. (Albawaba.com)