US Muslim Leader Louis Farrakhan Visits Libya

Published May 31st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan arrived in Libya Tuesday leading a large delegation from his movement, Libyan television reported. 

It did specify the reason, nor the length of the visit by the black American leader, said AFP. 

However, the Associated Press reported that Farrakhan arrived in Tripoli for talks with the leaders of Chad, Liberia, Mali and Libya, quoting the Middle East News Agency.  

The agency did not say what the talks with Kadhafi would focus on, and said Libyan spokesmen in Cairo and Tripoli could not be reached.  

The presidents of Chad, Liberia and Mali also arrived Tuesday in Tripoli.  

At the airport, Farrakhan celebrated last year's suspension of sanctions against Libya, which handed over two Libyans suspected in the 1988 plane explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, said the AP. The explosion killed 270 people. The suspects are on trial in The Hague, Netherlands.  

Farrakhan called for the sanctions to be lifted for good.  

Libya has played host to many African leaders over the last year as Kadhafi tries to assume the role of the continent's peacemaker.  

Libya, Chad, Liberia and Mali are all members of the Sahel and Saharan group, set up in 1998 to combat economic problems facing its member-states. The group also includes Sudan, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Niger and the Central African Republic.  

The United States has refused to normalize relations with Libya and barred its nationals from going there for security reasons, with exceptions on a case by case basis, said AFP. 

However, Washington did send a consular mission to Libya in March to review whether US citizens could start visiting the country, with which it broke off diplomatic relations nine years ago. 

Libyan President Muamar Kadhafi said in April he wanted to improve relations with the United States despite statements from Washington that its policy towards Libya remained unchanged. 

Back in February, Farrakhan continued his pledge to heal a 20-year-old rift among Muslims in the United States and to move closer to orthodox Muslims, at the group's most important annual gathering in Chicago. 

The message of a greater Muslim community and interfaith understanding underscored Farrakhan's return after his year-long experience with prostate cancer – (Several Sources)  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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