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US to restore full diplomatic relations with Libya

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) The United States will restore full diplomatic ties with Libya today to reward the North African nation, which for years was a pariah in the international community, for scrapping its weapons of mass destruction programs, US officials said.

As part of the move that is the culmination of a gradual rapprochement since late 2003, the United States will within 45 days remove Libya from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, the officials, who asked not to be named, said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to make the formal announcement later today.

Relations improved after Libya decided in December 2003 to give up its weapons of mass destruction program. In 2004, the United States ended a broad trade embargo placed on Libya in 1986.

The US Embassy in Libya was set on fire by a mob in 1979.

After declaring Libya a ''state sponsor of terrorism,'' a designation which triggers sanctions, the United States closed its embassy there in 1980.

REUTERS SY HS2138

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