Tuesday, August 31, 1999 Published at 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Analysis: Settling down after 30 years
Gaddafi is switching his attentions from Arabism to African affairs
Regional analyst Roger Hardy examines whether Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi is settling down into harmless middle age.
On 1 September, 1969 a young army officer called Muammar Gaddafi addressed the nation.
The Libyan coup took the world by surprise and the revolution proved as unconventional as its leader.
His fiery speeches, female bodyguards and his habit of arriving in a country uninvited - and then storming out at some perceived slight - all this left friend and foe wondering what he would get up to next.
But 30 years on, some think he might be settling down
Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, says the position Colonel Gaddafi occupied in the world has certainly changed.
"I think that's partly due to his more temperate attitude towards publicity and self-publicity," he said.
Irksome Lockerbie sanctions
Also UN sanctions imposed because of Libya's alleged role in the Lockerbie affair have now been suspended.
In December 1988 a Pan-Am plane blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all those on board.
But Colonel Gaddafi initially refused to hand over two Libyan suspects for trial.
UN sanctions - including the cutting of all air links - were imposed.
They were not nearly as stringent as those imposed on Iraq - but the Libyan leader found them irksome nevertheless.
The air embargo did not prevent Libya selling oil, but it did made it difficult to import spare parts for the oil installations.
The sanctions were suspended earlier this year, under a deal which allowed the two Libyan suspects to stand trial in a third country, the Netherlands.
For Britain and its European partners, the agreement has paved the way for the normalisation of relations.
And as Italian, German, French and British oil companies consolidate their position in Libya - US companies are likely to pressurise the US Government as they lose out on what will become a valuable market.
At the political level though, the Americans are not ready for normalisation. Demonising Colonel Gaddafi, like demonising Saddam Hussein of Iraq, has become a habit.
Former ambassador Oliver Miles says that even in a US State Department report earlier this year on international terrorism, it was said that he had not been found supporting international terrorism for a number of years.
"There has been some change - and I think it's more emphasis on internal development, on the welfare of people in Libya, and less interest perhaps in the outside world," Mr Miles says.
And if the famously unpredictable colonel has settled down, there's one group of people who will surely be disappointed - the journalists who have written about his colourful and often quirky adventures for the last 30 years.