Libya is New Economic Partner of US in North Africa

Politics Materials 5 September 2008 17:33 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 5 September / Trend corr. U.Sadikhova/ During her visit to Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will make positive changes in the economic relations between the two countries and will help to overpass the old differences between them.

"The United States is interested in economic relations with the Kadaffi regime. Therefore, Rice's visit will be intended to promote the relations," Patrick Holden, expert of Politics & International Relations at the University of Plymouth School of Law and Social Science, said to Trend in a telephone conversation on 4 September.

Condoleezza Rice will pay an official visit to Libya on 5 September. The U.S. State Department called the event as 'historic', BBC reported on 4 September.

U.S. Secretaries of State have not been visiting Libya since 1953. In 1979, the United States included Libya into the list of countries sponsoring terrorism and passed economic sanctions against Tripoli for its support to international terrorism. The event entailed break of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 80s.

Beginning from August 2008, significant progress has occurred in the Tripoli-Washington relationships, mainly owing to the refusal of Libyan President Muhammar Kadaffi to develop mass destruction weapons in 2003.

According to independent european expert for Libya Yahya Zubiri, Rice's visit will promote enhancement of relations between the two countries and will help the United States deeper penetrate into the economic life of the country.

Rice planned to visit Tripoli earlier, but several problems in the relations between the two countries impeded. For instance, Libyan Government's refusal to pay off compensation to the relatives of the people who died during blowing up of a Pan Am airliner over the Scottish Lockerby city in 1988. Most of the 270 lost were U.S. citizens. Libya was the main accused of the blast. In August 2008, Kadaffi agreed to pay off compensations.

Favorable conditions have emerged for US to realize its economic ambitions about African state. According to Zubiri, US is interested in the oil sector of the country while Libya wants to restore its regional and international positions with the help of US.

"Given the fact that Libya was in the list of countries sponsoring terrorism in 2006, ties with White House will give a rise to relations with West for Kaddafi regime," Zubiri, director for international and geopolitical studies of EUROMED said to Trend by email from Marcel.

Condoleezza Rise stated that US is ready to cooperate with Libya, because unlike Iran and South Korea Kaddafi gave up nuclear program and weapons of mass destruction understanding danger of this project.

Therefore, US-Libya relations area model for other regimes such as South Korea and Iran advising them to follow example of Libya, Zubiri said.

The economic ties between the two countries will lead to penetration of not only US companies, but also Italian and French companies to the private sector of Libya. According to British expert Holden, these companies are more interested in energy sector.

The US-Libya relations seriously aggravated after Muammar Kaddafi's accession to throne in 1969. After cut off diplomatic relations US has repeatedly accused Libya of sponsoring terrorism and in 1986 US troops attacked Tripoli and Benghazi which resulted in the death of adopted daughter of Kaddafi.

"Of course, Rise will improve relations and I do not think Kaddafi will build certain serious relations with White House," Holden said.

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