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 Home > News & Policies > February 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 26, 2004

Statement on Libya
Statement by the Press Secretary

Over the course of the last two months, Libya has taken significant steps in implementing its commitment to disclose and dismantle all weapons of mass destruction programs in Libya, as well as the missile systems to deliver them, and to welcome experts from the U.S., UK, and relevant international organizations to assist in this effort.

Libya has permitted the elimination of critical materials related to its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile capability, including weapons-related documentation, uranium hexafluoride (UF6), missile guidance systems, and centrifuges. It has opened its sites to IAEA and OPCW personnel, provided excellent support to US and UK experts, and begun the process of destroying chemical weapons munitions. Libya's disclosures have also shed light on the international network of proliferators, who are intent on subverting nonproliferation regimes, regardless of the consequences. American efforts with Libya since December 19 have made our country safer and the world more peaceful.

While more remains to be done, Libya's actions have been serious, credible, and consistent with Colonel Qadhafi's public declaration that Libya seeks to play a role in "building a new world free from WMD and from all forms of terrorism."

The President has made clear that Libya's decision to renounce these programs voluntarily would open the path to better relations with the United States.

In recognition of Libya's concrete steps to repudiate WMD and to build the foundation for Libya's economic growth and reintegration with the international community, the United States will take the following steps to encourage Libya to continue on this path:

  • First, the Secretary of State has rescinded the restriction on the use of American passports for travel to Libya.
  • Second, the Treasury Department will issue today a general license for all travel-related expenditures in Libya. What this means in practical terms is that American citizens, for the first time in 23 years, will be able to travel to Libya, including for tourism, academic research, and family visits.
  • Third, U.S. companies with pre-sanctions holdings in Libya will be authorized as of today to negotiate the terms of their re-entry into operations in Libya, subject to the requirement of a further U.S. approval for implementation of any agreements if sanctions have not otherwise been lifted.
  • Fourth, the United States invites Libya to establish an Interests Section in Washington, to facilitate our cooperation in the elimination of WMD and to lay the foundation for more extensive diplomatic relations in the future. We will continue to augment our U.S.-staffed Interests Section in Tripoli, to reflect the increasing depth of our bilateral relationship.
  • Fifth, the Administration commits to increasing contacts between Libyan and American societies and exploring cooperation in humanitarian projects. On February 28, a delegation of U.S. medical specialists from the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development will arrive in Tripoli for consultations on health care delivery and disease prevention. We have invited Libya to send an official delegation to the United States for discussions on future educational opportunities for Libyan students here in the United States.

As Libya continues to take steps that will lead to the complete dismantling of its WMD and MTCR-class missiles programs and adheres to its renunciation of terrorism, the United States will continuously evaluate the range of bilateral sanctions that remain in place relating to Libya.

The United States will approach relations with Libya on a careful, step-by-step basis. We have made clear that progress in our bilateral relationship will depend upon continued, good faith implementation by Libya of its own public commitments on WMD, missiles, and terrorism.

Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns will continue his dialogue with Libyan officials to review the next phase in American-Libyan relations.

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