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Sanctions Lifted, US Oil Focus Shifts from Iraq to Libya

The USA has lifted sanctions against Libya imposed in 1986.
It became clear after George Bush’s recent statement. At a press conference in Washington, the US president called national companies to buy oil from Libya and urged them to do business in Libya, giving priority to oil contracts, reports RBС.

This move is taken in response to Tripoli’s cooperation on weapons of mass destruction following increasing pressure on Libya from the international community, reports Interfax.

The White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that Libya had taken significant steps to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and curtail support for terrorism, including the elimination of its nuclear program and all reported stockpiles of chemical weapons, disbandment of missile troops using Scud-C and updated Scud-B missiles.

 “Libya has set a standard that we hope other nations will emulate,” McClellan said, reports RIA-Novosti Agency.

According to the BBC, the decision of the US administration will help resume diplomatic relations with Libya in full, and will also make Libyan students eligible to study in the USA. The United States will not object to Libya’s efforts to join the WTO. Besides, Washington allows US oil companies and banks to renew commercial business with Libya, reports Rosbalt News Agency.

For the first time since 1986 US companies will be able to open offices in Libya. Most likely that three American companies – Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum – will soon renew ties with Tripoli. They had been key buyers of oil from Libya before 1986.

At the same time, Libya remains on the State Department's list of countries sponsoring terrorism, therefore the exports of arms and dual-use goods to this country are still prohibited. Direct flights between the USA and Libya have not been reinstated yet.

The White House said that Tripoli has to meet all its obligations in regard to compensation to families which suffered from the Lockerbie tragedy.

First sanctions against Libya were imposed by the Reagan administration. Then the regime of Moammar Gaddafi was accused of organizing terrorist attacks against Americans and backing terrorists. US warplanes had even carried out spot bombing raids against Libyan cities. In 1988 the situation worsened when the Libyan leader refused to hand over the terrorists responsible for the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. By end of 1990, a suspicion that Libya was producing weapons of mass destruction led to increased sanctions.

Over the last two years, the situation began to change. First, Gaddafi handed over terrorists responsible for the Pan Am plane bombing for trial, and then he allowed IAEA experts to visit the country’s nuclear facilities. Besides, Libya supported the US military operation in Afghanistan and refused to grant asylum to the former Iraqi leaders, reports Top. RBK. Ru.

Source: Information agencies

Translated by ZM