Qadhaffi's son says US will open embassy in Libya within days
The son of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi announced on Monday that the United States would be opening an embassy in Tripoli within a matter of days, and that Libya would soon open its embassy in Washington.
He added that by the end of the year Libya would be removed from the US's list of states sponsoring terrorism, which it has been on since 1979.
The statement was made during a visit by US Senator Richard Lugar, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The US State Department gave no immediate response to the announcement.
Relations between the US and Libya have been strained ever since Muammar Qadhafi came to power in a military coup in 1969. Last year, the US began normalizing trade and investment relations with Libya after Qadhaffi agreed to give up it nuclear program.
US sanctions against Libya, which began in 1986, have cost the country more than $30 billion. The removal of the sanctions, which Libya is hoping for, is expected to accelerate US investment in Libya's oil industry, Libya's main source of revenue. Renewed trade agreements between the two countries will include importing Libyan oil to the US.
Qadhaffi's son, Saif Al Islam Qadhafi, runs the Qadhafi International Association for Charitable Organizations and has assumed an increasingly prominent role in international affairs in recent years.
He included in his statement on Monday his desire to visit the United States and exhibit his art work there. He currently has exhibitions in a number of countries in Europe and the Middle East.