Monday, May 15, 2006

US restores diplomatic relationship with Libya

This is an interesting turn of events...

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration said Monday it was establishing full diplomatic relations with Libya and removing it from a list of nations that sponsor terrorism, ending 27 years of mostly hostile relations between the countries.

Libya reversed course on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, earning the right to join the ranks of "the mainstream of the international community," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement. "We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism."

Some are extremely unhappy about this, and others are cautiously optimistic. Despite Libya's history as a rogue state, human rights violator, and a state sponsor of terrorism they came clean about their nuclear aspirations and pledged to abandon the program. Whether or not this is the right approach to take with Libya (hopefully they still keep a real close eye on them), it does send a good message to other nations that if they follow the straight and narrow, there's enough room in the civilized world for us all.

UPDATE @ 3:49pm: Counterterrorism blog posts the details about the decision to renew diplomatic ties with Libya. I found the piece with the Special Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Henry Crumpton particularly intriguing.

QUESTION: Can I ask you what does Sudan and Libya have to do to get off the state sponsor terror list? And when you talked about Iran, what is the help that they are giving -- that you said they're giving insurgents? Are you saying the state of Iran actually gave the components to insurgents for the IEDs?

AMBASSADOR CRUMPTON: The first question. Libya continues to make progress. We have outlined specifically to them what we need. They have to not engage in any terrorism for a certain period of time and we have to be able to verify that. They have to pledge to renounce terrorism, and they have. In fact, Secretary Rice met with the Libyan Foreign Minister last year and there was a joint statement to that effect. And we're at the point right now of continuing our discussions, verifying some issues and moving forward.

Verifiable information that the country has stopped sposoring terrorism for a certain amount of time. Verifying is good.