Rice hails new opening on historic Libya visitUS Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Libya on Friday for a landmark meeting with its leader Moamer Kadhafi as she hailed the West's reconciliation with the long-ostracised nation.
Rice landed in Tripoli Tripoli, city, Lebanon
Tripoli (trĭp`əlē) or Tarabulus (täräb`l on the first leg of a tour of north African North Africa
A region of northern Africa generally considered to include the modern-day countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.
North African adj. & n.
Adj. 1. states, becoming the first US secretary of state to visit in half a century.
"Quite frankly I never thought I would be visiting Libya so it is quite something," Rice told reporters travelling with her. "It is a beginning, it is an opening, it is not, I think, the end of the story."
Diplomats said Rice, eager to show Iran and North Korea that they could benefit from rapprochement with the West, wants to send a clear message of US approval for Libya's commitment to abandon nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes.
Rice said her visit was a "historic moment" but also highlighted the "suffering" caused by the prolonged standoff with the oil-rich nation which has been led by the mercurial mercurial /mer·cu·ri·al/ (mer-kur´e-il)
1. pertaining to mercury.
2. a preparation containing mercury.
adj. Kadhafi for almost four decades.
"This came out of the historic decision that Libya made to give up its weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or and to renounce terrorism, the important role that Libya can play and does play in the Maghreb, in the African Union African Union (AU), international organization established in 2002 by the nations of the former Organization of African Unity (OAU). The AU is the successor organization to the OAU, with greater powers to promote African economic, social, and political integration, ," she told reporters during a Lisbon stopover.
Rice will hold talks with Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Mohammed Shalgam before joining Kadhafi for Iftar -- the meal marking the end of the day's Ramadan fast.
"I look forward to listening to the leader's world view," she said, adding that oil was a factor for her visit given Libya's vast reserves of oil and gas.
Rice said that conflicts in Sudan and Chad could also be raised.
The visit marks the full renewal of relations with Libya, which were suspended in 1981, when the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. put Kadhafi's government on its list of state sponsors of terrorism State Sponsors of Terrorism is a designation applied by the United States Department of State to nations who are designated by the Secretary of State "to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. .
Libya, whose leader was once dubbed a "mad dog" by former US president Ronald Reagan, was forced even further into isolation after the bombing of a US airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.
The White House said Rice's visit marked a "new chapter."
"By improving our relations with Libya, we will enable expansion of bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including education and culture, commerce, science and technology, and most certainly security and human rights," said Dana Perino, President George W. Bush's press secretary.
The last US secretary of state to visit was John Foster Dulles Noun 1. John Foster Dulles - United States diplomat who (as Secretary of State) pursued a policy of opposition to the USSR by providing aid to American allies (1888-1959)
Dulles in 1953, who met King Idris -- the ruler ousted in a bloodless blood·less
1. Deficient in or lacking blood.
2. Pale and anemic in color: smiled with bloodless lips.
3. military coup in 1969 by Kadhafi.
Richard Nixon, who visited Libya in 1957 when he was vice president, was the last top-ranking US official to make the trip.
Kadhafi dramatically announced in December 2003 that his country was renouncing weapons of mass destruction and a nuclear programme following secret talks with the United States and Britain.
The move saw the Arab world's longest-serving leader gradually emerge from years of international isolation and since then he has held talks with a number of world leaders For a list of heads of state, see .
World leaders is a MMORPG. The game involves creating a state, joining an alliance and going into war. It is mostly played by players from Israel, China, USA, Britain, Brazil and Saudi-Arabia. .
In the latest diplomatic coup for the veteran leader, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi travelled to Libya last Saturday where he formally apologised for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signed a five-billion-dollar investment deal by way of compensation. (born September 29, 1936) is an Italian politician, entrepreneur, and media proprietor.
The Libyan leader -- he eschews the title president and prefers to be known as "brother leader and guide of the revolution" -- welcomed the end of his regime's long estrangement from Washington.
"The whole business of the conflict between Libya and the United States has been closed once and for all," Kadhafi said. "There will be no more wars, raids or acts of terrorism."
But Kadhafi also stressed that Libya was not desperate for US friendship, saying: "All we want is to be left alone."
Rice's visit comes less than a month after the two governments reached an agreement on a plan to compensate US victims of Libyan attacks and Libyan victims of US reprisals REPRISALS, war. The forcibly taking a thing by one nation which belonged to another, in return or satisfaction for a injury committed by the latter on the former. Vatt. B., 2, ch. 18, s. 342; 1 Bl. Com. ch. 7.
The deal focused on the families of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing as well as victims of US air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986 in which 41 people were killed, including an adopted daughter of Kadhafi.
The US-based Carnegie Endowment think-tank, however, warned Washington against falling into a business-as-usual relations with Libya.
"The regime remains opaque, unpredictable, and, buoyed by its petroleum wealth, is increasingly assertive in international negotiations."