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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Libya Makes Friends With US and Britain

Libya may serve a perfect example for other countries supposedly working on nuclear weapons such as North Korea and Iran
The most sensational news circulated last weekend is Libya's voluntary renunciation of development and production of weapons of mass destruction. The report has become a surprise almost for the whole of the world community, may be with the exception of the US, Great Britain and Libya itself.

It has become recently known that secret consultations on the future of Libya's developments in the sphere of weapons of mass destruction began in spring when Kadhafi's representatives suggested starting negotiations with Great Britain. The proposition stipulated a condition that London must invite its western allies for the negotiations as well.

The consultations lasted for half a year and resulted to the mutual benefit of both parties. Americans and Britons were granted access to Libya's centers developing weapons of mass destruction. The two trips to Libya made in October and December not only stunned Washington and London, but rather gave food for reflection. It turned out that Libyans had really advanced nuclear programs. This fact made George W. Bush and Tony Blair highly appreciate Kadhafi's renunciation of further development of nuclear programs. This first of all reduces the program for development of chemical and biological weapons. Second, Libya may serve a perfect example for other countries supposedly working on nuclear weapons such as North Korea and Iran. Even though Teheran signed an addendum to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it was rather reluctant; the signing was a result of months-long diplomatic pressure that sometimes developed into undisguised blackmailing. But Libya turned out to be more eager to sign the addendum. Yesterday, Libya Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said Tripoli was ready to sign the addendum to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because "Libya has begun the process of rejoining the community of nations". As soon as Libya signs the document, IAEA inspections will be allowed to any weapons production sites on the territory of the country.

George W. Bush and Tony Blair hailed Libya's renunciation of nuclear development programs almost immediately after Tripoli voiced the decision. The US president promised some reward for the country and said that "Libya's good will be rewarded." To all appearances, Americans will soon lift economic sanctions imposed upon Libya over the Lockerbie bombing of Pan American's Boeing in 1988 which left 270 people dead. Earlier, Libya admitted its belonging to the act of terrorism and said it was ready to pay compensations to families of those killed in the attack. Thus, UN sanctions were lifted. However, the country is still under Washington's sanctions. Colonel Kadhafi strongly criticized the 9/11 acts of terrorism in the US and even transferred some money for the victims. But the gesture remained unnoticed in the White House.

The motives why the Libyan leader acted like this are quite understandable. Libya needs foreign investments to modernize economy weakened by the economic sanctions. However, the sanctions were not an obstacle for Italian companies to produce oil in Libya and for Kadhafi himself - to buy shares of Italian football clubs. Now it probably turns out that resources of Italians do not meet the technological and financial requirements of Libya's projects. This is the reason why they want to cooperate with the US and Great Britain.

Colonel Moamer Kadhafi perfectly suits the western criterion of a dictator, however he is now "a good dictator" who has realized and admitted the rules of play. It is not ruled out that the Libyan leader is strongly impressed with the Iraqi war and the easiness with which Saddam Hussein was overthrown. On the other hand, Tripoli started speaking about reconciliation long before the military operation against Iraq was started. In this case, Kadhafi turned out to be wiser and more cunning than the ex-leader of Iraq from the point of view of authority retention.

A question arises then: if Libya's years-long sanctions turned out to be effective, could the same have happened in Iraq as well? Why is the US so selective toward both countries while Saddam was charged with development of weapons of mass destruction and support to terrorists, the same charges brought against Libya? At the same time, the facts of support to terrorists and development of weapons of mass destruction have been proved as concerning Libya while the situation is still unclear with Iraq.

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