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U.S. Department Of State
Friday, 17 June, 2005

U.S. Department Of State: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch Visit To Tripoli, Libya,
June 14-15, 2005

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
June 17, 2005
2005/632

Statement by Sean McCormack, Spokesman

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch Visit To Tripoli, Libya, June 14-15, 2005

On his first visit to Libya, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch met on June 14 and 15 in Tripoli with Libyan officials, continuing our countries' high-level dialogue on the future of U.S.-Libyan relations. The meetings were serious and candid. Assistant Secretary Welch welcomed Libya's continuing implementation of its commitment to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and MTCR-class missiles. He reaffirmed the goal of fully normalized relations, as the U.S. and Libya work to resolve remaining issues and strengthen cooperation on counterterrorism, political and economic modernization, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the region.

In meetings with Colonel Qadhafi and the Libyan leadership, Assistant Secretary Welch expressed appreciation for Libya's support for a peaceful solution in Darfur and for its cooperation in the global war on terrorism. He reviewed issues regarding Libya's policy on terrorism and both sides agreed to continue a comprehensive discussion of this issue. Assistant Secretary Welch reiterated the importance of Libya's policy and practice of carrying out agreed-upon settlements and responding in good faith to legal cases brought against it.

Assistant Secretary Welch discussed the President's initiative to promote democracy, economic openness, institutional reform and the rule of law in the region, including possibilities for expanded bilateral cooperation through the Middle East Partnership Initiatives (MEPI). He welcomed Libya's cooperation with Human Rights Watch and the decision to eliminate the People's Courts as important steps forward for human rights. He raised continuing U.S. concerns about human rights cases. Conveying the heart-felt sympathy of the American people for the HIV/AIDS-infected children and their family members in Benghazi, Assistant Secretary Welch highlighted U.S. and international humanitarian efforts on their behalf. He also called for the release of the Bulgarian medics and the Palestinian doctor.

Both parties discussed next steps in enhancing cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, including facilitating the return of Libyan students to the United States. Noting the successful return of U.S. businesses to Libya, Assistant Secretary Welch underscored the U.S. interest in supporting economic reform and modernization that will facilitate Libya's accession to the World Trade Organization.


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