British Prime Minister, Tony Blair on Thursday arrived in Libya for talks with the latter's leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The two leaders were meeting in a tent on the outskirts of the Libyan capital.
Speaking later, Blair hailed the Libyan move to dismantle its WMD program and said it had given "full and transparent" cooperation to UN weapons inspectors. He noted the progress on arms meant it was time to "build a new relationship" with Libya.
Blair said Col. Gaddafi recognized Libya's future "is best secured by a new relationship with the outside world". There was also a recognition of a "common cause with us in the fight against al Qaeda, extremism and terrorism".
Earlier, it was reported British police investigating the killing of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher will visit Libya next month. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Scotland Yard detectives will fly to the capital Tripoli on April 3.
Wpc Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London on April 17, 1984. The bullet was fired from within the embassy but Libya has always denied responsibilty.
Before flying to Tripoli, Blair said: "Let us offer to states that want to renounce terrorism and the development of WMD our hand in partnership to achieve it." He added: "That does not mean forgetting the pain of the past, but it does mean recognizing change when it happens."
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )