Blair and Bush to visit Libya

24 December 2003
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President Bush will visit Tripoli in the new year to hold talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son told the pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on 24 December. 'The British premier will visit Tripoli at the beginning of next year, followed by a visit by US President George Bush,' Saif Gaddafi was quoted as saying. 'I foresee [the Bush visit] happening after the lifting of US sanctions, which I believe should happen within three months at most.'

Saif Gaddafi's comments come a day after Libya's official JANA news agency reported that Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdel Rahman Shalgham, received an invitation from his British counterpart Jack Straw to visit London early next year.

Tripoli indicated on 21 December that it would sign an additional International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) protocol, which would allow for snap inspections. The announcement, made by Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem, came two days after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said that the country would abandon its weapons of mass destruction programmes. US President Bush said Libya had made a 'wise and responsible choice' (MEED 23:12:03).

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