Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham is to travel to
London on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, the first by a
foreign minister in more than 20 years, an official here
The visit, at the invitation of British Foreign Secretary Jack
Straw, comes on the heels of Tripoli's December 19 announcement
that it was abandoning its programme of weapons of mass
Shalgam will meet with Straw, Prime Minister Tony Blair and "might
be received" by Queen Elizabeth II, the official said.
"This visit will be the occasion for new cooperation at the
political level," ministry spokesperson Hassuna al-Shawsh
Straw invited Shalgam to London on January 5, without giving a
precise date for the visit.
He told the House of Commons that Britain would help Libya
dismantle its arms programs and ease the country's return to the
International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based UN nuclear
"We have, I believe, established a relationship of trust, which has
enabled Libya first to renounce terrorism and now to renounce the
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Britain now had "corresponding responsibilities to enable Libya to
come fully into the mainstream of the international community," he
Shalgam yesterday characterised relations with Britain as
"excellent and exemplary".
Tripoli and London reestablished diplomatic relations in
They were broken in 1984 after a British policewoman was shot dead
from inside the Libyan embassy in London as she was monitoring an
anti-Libyan demonstration in the street outside.
Libya was under international sanctions for years over the December
1988 bombing of a US airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie
that killed 270 people.
The United Nations lifted its embargo last September after Tripoli
agreed to pay $2,7-billion in compensation and accept
responsibility for the bombing while denying any guilt.
US sanctions remain in place, however. – Sapa-AFP.