( AP ) - Libya on Friday denied that discussions in Washington between its foreign minister and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice broached the topic of human rights.
Rice and Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam met Thursday for the highest level talks between the two countries in Washington in 35 years, capping years of improving ties since Libya agreed to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs, renounce terrorism and pay compensation to the families of victims of several attacks.
"There was absolutely no mention of the human rights situation in Libya during the discussions in Washington between the foreign minister and the U.S. foreign minister," Libya's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It said the talks focused on bilateral relations and working towards peace in Sudan's embattled Darfur region.
According to the U.S. State Department, however, Rice pressed Shalqam on the need for Libya to finish payments to the victim's families of the 1988 Pan Am airline bombing in 1988 as well as improve its human rights record if it is to fully enjoy the benefits of U.S. friendship.
She "urged Libya to move forward in resolving outstanding claims by families of terror victims against the Libyan government and raised human rights as an important agenda item for our bilateral relationship," spokesman Sean McCormack said after the meeting.
On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore declined to comment on Libya's latest statement.