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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Full text: Rice statement
The US has announced that it is renewing full diplomatic relations with Libya after deciding to remove it from a list of states backing terrorism.

The following is a statement by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

I am pleased to announce that the United States is restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya. We will soon open an embassy in Tripoli.

In addition, the United States intends to remove Libya from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism.

Libya will also be omitted from the annual certification of countries not co-operating fully with United States' anti-terrorism efforts.

We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent co-operation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001.

Today's announcements are tangible results that flow from the historic decisions taken by Libya's leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programmes.

As a direct result of those decisions we have witnessed the beginning of that country's re-emergence into the mainstream of the international community.

Today marks the opening of a new era in US-Libya relations that will benefit Americans and Libyans alike.

Just as 2003 marked a turning point for the Libyan people so too could 2006 mark turning points for the peoples of Iran and North Korea.

Libya is an important model as nations around the world press for changes in behaviour by the Iranian and North Korean regimes - changes that could be vital to international peace and security.

We urge the leadership of Iran and North Korea to make similar strategic decisions that would benefit their citizens.

For Libya, today's announcements open the door to a broader bilateral relationship with the United States that will allow us to better discuss other issues of importance.

Those issues include protection of universal human rights, promotion of freedom of speech and expression, and expansion of economic and political reform consistent with President Bush's freedom agenda.


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