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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 12:00 GMT
Should Libya be fully rehabilitated?
Muammar Gaddafi

We discussed developments in Libya, Iran and Iraq over the last seven days on our global phone in programme, Talking Point.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that it may start inspecting Libyan nuclear sites next week following the country's acceptance of spot checks.

The head of the UN watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed he would lead the first inspection mission, including senior IAEA officials, to take stock of the state of the country's nuclear facilities.

This follows Libya's decision to sign up to the IAEAs inspections protocol and to scrap its weapons of mass destruction programme.

On Friday President Muammar Gaddafi said that Libya was ready to play its role in building a new world free from weapons of mass destruction and terrorism following secret negotiations with the US and the UK.

Should Libya now be allowed to rejoin the international community?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:

Yes. Whatever his personal reasons, Gaddafi should be taken at his word. He is a man with pride. Take him at his word until he proves different. He is extending the olive branch, let's see where this goes from here.
Maureen, Florida, USA

Gaddafi is afraid after seeing Saddam's fall. Anyway, whatever be the reason, it's good for Libya, Europe and rest of the world.
Sachnees Siddiki, India

The era of dictatorship and dictators is approaching its certain death, and Gaddafi proved he was smart enough to understand it. That's why Iranian, North Korean and Syrian regimes are the most isolated regimes in the world.
Morad, London, (Iranian)

Though the effects of Libyan terrorism are still felt, a country must have options to rejoin the international community. On the surface, it seems Libya has done what it must - admitting guilt in the Lockerbie crash, agreeing not to proceed, and scrapping WMD under international supervision. What more can we ask, save the sacrifice of its leader, who seems willing to change. Libya walks a fine line between the Middle East and Western Europe, and seems to be searching out a civil way to walk its path.
Bill P, Trenton, USA

Libya is only a start, I wouldn't be surprised if you see many other countries follow suit especially if Bush is elected to a second term
John, Texas

I'm amazed at the lack of historical knowledge that people are showing on this site. To all of those out there that think we didn't try to negotiate with Iraq before invading you are dead wrong. Three US presidents tried, 12 years have passed, and no matter how you fool yourselves invading Iraq was necessary to maintain the credibility of the UN and the civilized world. Now these actions are paying dividends. Libya is only a start, I wouldn't be surprised if you see many other countries follow suit especially if Bush is elected to a second term.
John, Texas, USA

Though I nearly always find myself disagreeing with the policies of the Bush and Blair governments, this time I think they are being prudent in going slow. When Libya fully complies, then they should provide the benefits. Trust and Verify.
Paul, New York, USA

It's simple; he didn't want to become what Saddam became.
Mishari, Kuwait

As criteria to rejoin the international community, it's a good thing that Libya is giving up its WMD program. Will Syria be next? The coalition partners claim that Saddam moved most of his WMD to Syria. And last but not least, will Israel be open to the IAEA to take stock of its nuclear facilities? The odds of this last item happening are astronomical.
Brian M, Canada

Of course Libya should be rehabilitated. I am just wondering why Bush and Blair are so eager to make peace with Libya which has weapons of mass destruction and were not with Iraq which did not have them? Surely the oil does not have anything to do with this.
Samppa Sirno, Tampere, Finland

George Joffe article portrays success between Bush/Blair's policy and Gaddafi's policy as mutually exclusive. On the contrary, this is a win for everyone. The world is safer with autocratic regimes without WMD compared to rogue regimes with WMD. This the good step at putting WMD back into the bottle. Bush/Blair wins, Gaddafi wins, and everyone wins.
Ian Yee, Austin, Texas

Gaddafi has always been something of an eccentric. I wouldn't be surprised by anything he did.
Andy, USA

Thanks to Mr Gaddafi that we have one less war to face. He made a wise choice. We have to let inspectors take as much time as they need to cleanup the mess.
Sangam Dhruva, USA

It's clear it is a wise move
Kashif Saeed, Peshawar
It's clear it is a wise move. He makes a point and puts the onus on Bush and Blair. Now these two will have to justify why they still seek to exclude Israel from the WMD clean up list. After all Israel is also part of the Middle East and needs to be accorded true recognition by it's neighbours.
Kashif Saeed, Peshawar Pakistan

The US needs to be careful when declaring Gaddafi's act as one to be praised. This man may have some tricks up his sleeve so I would be cautious when dealing with him. A man doesn't do a 180 degree turn just overnight. This issue should be dealt with extreme caution
Devon Sawa, USA

I think we need to take "baby steps" with Libya. I'm not about to say let bygone's be bygone's. However, if Gaddafi wants to open his weapons programs - that's a good start. Also it would be interesting to see if Libya has any valuable information on al-Qaeda.
Mike Daly, Hackettstown, NJ, USA

Yes, engagement is really the only way to ensure global security. If leaders have a stake in being friendly with one another maybe the world can be a less violent place.
Nikhil Bhardwaj, UK/Florida

One question that the US/UK government supporters seem to sidestep is that he's had awful weapons (WMD) for 20 years and has never, in all that time, used them, in spite of being accused of doing everything in his power to attack the US and UK (also France of course). The idea that he's suddenly become dangerous after all this time is just ordinary nonsense.
Steve, UK

Perhaps he wishes to leave a different legacy than the one he was headed toward
Mike H, USA

On the surface, Gaddafi today seems to be very different from the Gaddafi of twenty years ago. Maybe he has learned the costs of terrorism are too high. If memory serves, he lost a daughter in the Tripoli bombings of 1987. Perhaps he wishes to leave a different legacy than the one he was headed toward. Time will tell and I hope this is a positive step, but caution is warranted. Libya is still a dictatorship.
Mike H, USA

One thing is for certain: Gaddafi didn't take this step because he was afraid of France, Germany and Russia. The Bush/Blair doctrine works and the world is safer because of it.
Peter C Kohler, Washington DC, USA

He wants to clean up his act so that Africa accepts him and West don't doubt or block his moves
Elias Banda, Blantyre, Malawi

You have to be extremely careful if you accept Gaddafi's olive branch. Remember Gaddafi is after his own expansionism in the African continent. He has realised that he cannot do this if the world keeps talking about him as a supporter of terrorism. He wants to clean up his act so that Africa accepts him and West don't doubt or block his moves. Essentially he has been assigned the task of Islamic expansionism in Africa. So take him with a pinch of salt.
Elias Banda, Blantyre, Malawi

I wonder if Gaddafi's coming clean policy has got anything to do with the Libya/Tunisia 2010 World Cup bid. Surely not!
John, Oxford, UK

I doubt if Libya ever had a credible WMD program - so by claiming to scrap this, they get the backing of Bush and Blair at no cost to themselves. A political coup? No just spin, spin and more spin from the B-B pair.
PH, Broxburn, Scotland

Those asking "why didn't we negotiate with Iraq?" seem to forget that we negotiated with Iraq for 12 years. Gaddafi's actions should be praised & sanction's lifted as incentive for other countries to follow suit. A "Carrot & Stick" approach needs a "carrot" in the form of international acceptance to balance the "stick" of military action. Gaddafi has first hand experience of US military might and clearly has no wish to experience it a second time. Shame Saddam wasn't as smart.
Peter, UK

Gaddafi should be treated with caution
Mark, USA
Gaddafi should be treated with caution. A leopard doesn't change his spots. The only reason he could possibly have made this move now is that he was told in no uncertain terms that he was next on the Bush-Blair list.
Mark, USA

I don't care about Gaddafi or Saddam. Where on earth is Iraqi WMD ?
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey

What's the alternative? So yes we have to rehabilitate and maybe this will encourage others (North Korea?) to do the same....
Ferry Franssen, Hilversum Netherlands

Full marks to Gaddafi for an extremely shrewd move. It doesn't matter that he doesn't have any WMDs. With Bush & Blair's current obsession with them, he scores some serious brownie points for giving them up anyway, and hasn't actually lost anything.
Adam, London, UK

What an absolute joke this declaration is. The US and UK have been angling for a way of bring the Libyans back into the international fold to gain access to their oil supplies. The deal has been struck, the unheard of previously stocks of weapons will appear and be dismantled, the US will get it's oil, the Libyan economy will be revitalised and we all have a happy Christmas in the knowledge that we can sleep safely knowing that Libya, who has not acted aggressively towards any other state in my memory are disarmed of these supposed stock piles.
Mitchell Hawes, London, UK

First of all l congratulate Gaddafi on this decision because he shows what the world needs now to get rid of Terrorism. And what is going on in Iraq should be a lesson for every leader. Let's pray that Gaddafi will fully cooperate when inspections start.
Moustapha, Dakar Senegal

Gaddafi is a canny politician. He sees the way the winds are blowing and has moved to secure his power base. By "coming clean" as it were, before any direct military threat has been issued, world opinion will generally oppose any attempt to depose the leader by force. Make no mistake, this serves to strengthen his position rather than weaken it. Less WMD in the region is a good thing, now all we need is for Israel to do the same.
Keiran Allan, Aberdeen, Scotland

Whatever be the reason for this change in policy, it is for good.
Karthik Vaidhinathan, Chennai, India

Whatever be the reason for this change in policy, it is for good. All right minded states should put an end to these weapons so that the future generations can live without fear on this planet.
Karthik Vaidhinathan, Chennai, India

Libya has helped train rebels liked Charles Tailor, Kukoi Samba Sanyang of and Baba Jobe of the Gambia who have terrorised Gambians. It's time Gaddafi realised his idiotic and inhumane actions in his own interest and in the interest of Libyans who have suffered a lot in the US-UK led sanction.
Yankuba Jambang, New York, USA (Gambian)

Only when Libya has disclosed who has supplied it with the means to manufacture WMD. Any bets on Russia, Pakistan, North Korea etc???
Sid Anderson, Langford, Beds

You take what is available while it is available. A change in leader may result in a loss of this opportunity. Any reasonable move towards peace must be taken.
James Dickerson, Wimbledon

Gaddafi did the right thing and the West shouldn't be over sceptical.
Ezra, Ethiopia

Gaddafi did the right thing and the West shouldn't be over sceptical.
Ezra, Ethiopia

Why not? The world community is full of terrorist countries anyway. Soon Bush will call Gaddafi a "friend". I believed Gaddafi finally woke up and wants to play the game differently. He's been pondering Bush's statement "You're either with us or not. He's finally wised up.
Ken, USA

Yes he should be allowed especially as an encouragement to others e.g. North Korea, Iran, etc.
Edwin Rogers, Naples Fl USA

The aim of diplomacy is to have these regimes changed for the better.
Kevin Reilly, Glasgow Scotland

The aim of diplomacy is to have these regimes changed for the better. Sometimes that means deposing the leaders but in this case we see a desire for the current regime to change. I think we should give him a chance, regardless of the reasons for the change of heart this is a positive step.
Kevin Reilly, Glasgow Scotland

What Bush and Blair should remember is that Gaddafi's declaration should not hide the fact that he is a dictator and has been sitting on Libyans for the past 35 years. Libyans are living in poor conditions in an oil rich country with human rights violations happening every day.
Sammy Jousef, Tripoli, Libya

If the US can be an integral part of the world community after attacking a sovereign nation (Iraq) on the claim of WMD, then why not Libya?
Farrukh, Guildford, UK

This is simply Gaddafi trying to protect his own position as dictatorial leader of Libya.
Matt Davis, London, UK

Libya a stand up member of the world community - don't make me laugh! This, along with the attempt to buy off the Lockerbie victims families, is simply Gaddafi trying to protect his own position as dictatorial leader of Libya. He is well aware that he was next on the US list after Saddam and seeing which way the wind is blowing he is trying to forestall any regime change that might affect him.
Matt Davis, London, UK

The only reason why Gaddafi has renounced his costly nuke and CW programmes is that he's been repeatedly defeated in all his attempts at aggression in the past, and was facing the clear possibility of being trounced again, big-time. Libya is a vast land with a sparse population and a glorious past, that I believe deserves better than the regime that has been halting it's progress with despotism and whacky political experimentation, for more than a generation.
Daniel, Ramat Gan, Israel

Libya is now in a much better position to endeavour new initiatives towards a very noble goal: the African Union.
Jori Peka, Lyon, France

I think if Libya is rehabilitated then a good lesson will be given to the world's leaders to follow Libya.
Neakoh Ndi Frankkin, Bamenda-Caameroon

I am happy of what President Bush is dong to curb terrorism in the world. And for President Gaddafi may god bless you as you realise that terrorism is not the best. The fall of Saddam has proven that he was the head of the evil vice. But I think if Libya is rehabilitated then a good lesson will be given to the world's leaders to follow Libya.
Neakoh Ndi Frankkin, Bamenda-Caameroon

The fate and the end of Saddam image is good example for dictatorial regime like Colonel Gaddafi.
Bekheet Nazeer, Cairo, Egypt

Many other countries will follow suit if Libya is rehabilitated. Bullying as Bush does is not the solution.
Eyong Divine, Buea, Cameroon

An emphatic yes! If Libya offers the hand of friendship, we should accept. They are playing to our rules now and we should welcome them with open arms.
Paul T Horgan, Bracknell, UK

I feel this will be a win-win situation for all parties concerned, most importantly the Libyan people
Mark Vella-Tomlin, Madliena

I have been working in Libya for the last 10 years and have seen how the sanctions have affected day to day life of the Libyan people. I myself had to endure restrictions and difficulties. What I have noticed is that there is no bitterness by the average Libyan towards the west and in fact generally are very friendly people to the foreigner. I feel this will be a win-win situation for all parties concerned, most importantly the Libyan people, as they have suffered for past mistakes. Its time to look ahead.
Mark Vella-Tomlin, Madliena, Malta

Through this pathetic move that only exposes Arab weakness the Colonel is trying to ensure he (and his family) remains in power -unlike his hapless colleague in Baghdad. God help us all!
Ragheed Moghrabi, New York City, USA

Colonel Gaddafi has shown proof of a certain responsibility and integrity, and should be allowed to rejoin the International community. The Libyan people have suffered enough. By the Colonels action, the healing process has begun and should continue.
Sule I Karofi, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Let's take things slowly, so far all we have is the word of a dictator. Let's wait and see if he carries through with his promises.
Richard T. Ketchum, USA

Will Gaddafi now stop meddling in Zimbabwean affairs - bankrolling Mugabe's regime with cheap oil and plundering Zimbabwean heritage by demanding payments through plundering our national assets? WMD is just one of his evils.
Tapiwa Fanley, Southend on Sea, UK

I am rather shocked at the majority of comments I have read here. Have we all forgotten that December evening when the news came on that a Boeing 747 had exploded in the night sky over Scotland? If there is only one reason that Libya, whilst under the grip of Gaddafi should never be allowed back into the international community it should be this. 'Regime change' in my opinion is the only way Libya can come in from the cold.
Ed, UK

There is no doubt that Libya's declaration should open many doors in the international community. It is a huge statement and step to improve the much deteriorated international relations of current times. With this action we hope, the numerous conflicts in the Middle East will be resolve.
Dardanelos Avalon de Chalirach, Philadelphia, USA

This shows that the war on Iraq worked and was right
Amir, Sweden

This shows that the war on Iraq worked and was right. An example was made. Does anybody think that Iran and Libya would have cooperated in this way if the sight of Saddam deep inside a hole would not have been fresh inside their minds? As dictators their first and foremost aim is to stay in power and it seems they have learned by Saddam's mistakes. Well done Mr Bush and Mr Blair.
Amir, Sweden

Libya has shown proof of a certain responsibility and integrity, and should be allowed to rejoin the International community. That country has suffered enough of scars and the healing process has begun and should continue.
Adi, Quebec, Canada

Libyan President is obviously learning from Saddam's mistakes and trying to maintain his presidency keeping away from the US guns. Hopefully Bush also restrains and does not repeat his mistakes of Iraq in Libya.
Sumant Wahi, London, UK

Libya's decision to give up their WMD programmes is a positive move towards a more peaceful and safe world. I congratulate Mr Gaddafi and the people of Libya for their humble move. It is only right to welcome Libya by the international community with open arms.
Leo Santiago, Quezon City, Philippines

Libya has taken a bold and important step. The world community must now reciprocate to show other countries that developing weapons of mass destruction will not be allowed by the world anymore.
Jamal, Maldives

The extremism and anger of youth seems to have been replaced with the wisdom and resignation of age
John, New Jersey

The extremism and anger of youth seems to have been replaced with the wisdom and resignation of age as far as President Gaddafi is concerned. If we can confirm and convince ourselves that this is a real transformation then I think we should start moving toward full recognition and cooperation - definitely.
John, New Jersey, USA

As an expat in Libya, this is good news. Libya has the same potential as that that of Spain. Ten years from now who knows, the countries of northern Africa and the 'golden crescent' may be part of the European Union?
Jon Allan Homan, Libya

Kudos Bush and Blair - the masters of WMD dismantle. Though the timing of this deal is questionable! Who is next in the axe - Iran or North Korea?
Cyril, India

Why should we Libyans give up means to defend ourselves? The simple fact is that with or without WMD, Libya is no match against Western and Israeli Military power.
Omar, Tripoli, Libya

There is no doubt in my mind that this latest development is the biggest victory in the ongoing war on terror yet.
Oded Arazi, Tel Aviv, Israel

It should be appreciated and encouraged which will be an example to other countries moving in the same direction
Parameswaran, Kuwait

Why not? In today's world who has the moral right to dictate punishment on other countries? US which claims to be the moral judge is steeped in self-motivated criminalities. If Libya is willing to shed its dictatorial and terrorist inclinations and is ready to cooperate with the international community it should be appreciated and encouraged which will be an example to other countries moving in the same direction.
Parameswaran, Kuwait

I still have some doubts about his statements. However, the strong stance taken by the US and UK over Iraq has certainly worked well.
Yuko, Japan

This is the hypocrisy by the US that so many Muslims hate; Muammar Gaddafi is a dictator who has oppressed his people. He runs the country with a tight fist and now that he has given up his WMD, he knows that the US will ignore the fact that he is a dictator just because Libya will no longer be a threat to the US or Israel.
Adam, London, UK

Gaddafi has taken the right step not only for himself but also for his country. Standing for peace should be the choice of all countries.
Mohd, Oman

Well it looks like democracy and capitalism (peace by superior firepower) certainly seems to work.
Ian, Scotland

All WMD should be destroyed for a more civilized age
Mangungu wa Kamoto, Comoros

Libya does not need to rejoin the international community because it was always there just as others with their WMD are still there. The question is, what right do the possessors of WMD have to admit anyone to the international community or even to preach to others about WMD? All WMD should be destroyed for a more civilized age and then care more about honesty, peace, harmony and the human life.
Mangungu wa Kamoto, Comoros

Nine months of negotiations worked with Libya because the result of failure was seen in Iraq. The war there has set a precedent that will hopefully encourage other countries to seek peace in an international community instead of just furthering their own interests.
Adam, Tokyo

I'm sure the Colonel has had to swallow a lot of his pride in order to take the right decision
Arjun Arunachalam, India
Hopefully this will not be used as a PR tool by Bush and Blair. I'm sure the Colonel has had to swallow a lot of his pride in order to take the right decision. Surely he deserves all the respect the world can give him. The unfortunate outcome of this will be that bush will now think force has scared Libya into this decision.
Arjun Arunachalam, India

Yes, Libya should be allowed to rejoin the International Community. Doing so would provide an incentive for other "rouge nations" to give up weapons of mass destruction. However, Libya must first improve its domestic human rights record. Still the West and the US ought to make some reciprocal gestures, to encourage Gaddafi to continue on the path of reform. This is good news for PM Blair, as he could use a diplomatic success. The US is obviously eager to clear the way to get additional compensation form Libya for the Lockerbie deaths.
David, Milwaukee, WI, USA

President Muammar Gaddafi has taken the right step not only for himself but also for his country. Standing for peace should be the choice of all countries, not just Libya.
Deependro, Nepal

I think when it comes to WMD, the world (especially Mr Bush and Mr Blair) are more focussed on this issue than other more important needs. Is it just to sustain their countries' pride, or is it because they feel they have nothing else to think about? I think the so called 'international community' is just a misnomer, or rather, just a 'decorative term'.
Balaji, Chennai, India

Whenever there is diplomacy and respect, there is always a positive outcome
Michael, Maryland, USA
George Bush has realised, albeit late, that bullying and attacking others doesn't necessarily work but diplomacy does. They bullied Iraq for months before invading it unilaterally but when it comes to Libya, they held secret negotiations. This goes on to show that they were both out to get Iraq WMDs or no WMDs. Whenever there is diplomacy and respect, as is the case with Gaddafi, there is always a positive outcome. Dropping bombs only goes on to alienate the US from the rest of the world and I doubt whether the US will ever repeat this mistake. It is now haunting them daily in the Sunni triangle. I hope they do the same with Iran, North Korea, Israel and all other countries that harbour these dangerous weapons.
Michael, Maryland, USA / Kenya

What about Israel? Until when will this injustice will remain? Why is it we Arabs who have to comply with every single international law, or otherwise we will get bombed?
Sami, Saudi Arabia

I seem to remember Iraq saying the same thing, many times, just before we dumped a load of explosives on them. But it is America which is developing more nuclear, chemical, biological and political weapons than any other nation, and using it to their advantage regardless of the consequences for others.
Stuart, Scotland

This is good news because it means that I may have the chance in my lifetime to visit some of the great Roman-era ruins located in Libya. Still now, as a holder of a US passport, it is illegal for me to visit these historically important sites. We should make peace with Syria, and for the same reason.
Joe, New York

Other nations have WMD too and all must give them up or is there any real point?
David, San Francisco, USA
The fact that Libya is giving up its WMD is a major breakthrough. Hopefully other nations will follow including the US and UK; however, people must remember that many other nations have WMD too and all must give them up or is there any real point?
David, San Francisco, USA

Why is it okay for some countries to have WMD and long-range missiles, but not others? Why wasn't dialogue sought with Iraq?
Daniel Satherley, Hamilton, New Zealand

How massively important is that? A high profile 'enemy' of western thinking, choosing another path. In their own interest. We do not wish to change Islamic nations but we must back up those who choose the 'middle way.' Those who will 'live with us' and not against us. Those who do not want to 'change us.' This is GREAT news. And there is not much news that can be noted as great. Let all Islamic fundamentalists take note, take stock, and learn.
Alan W Thom, Stockport, Cheshire

Thanks to for Mr. Gaddafi for this. But what about Israel? It also has some weapons. The US, UK and international world community should pressure Israel to do the same thing
Zaidi, Karachi, Pakistan

Surely this is a huge burden off of his shoulders
Kevin Brown, USA
I think Mr Gaddafi has made a very wise decision. He turned over the terrorists that were responsible for the Lockerbie catastrophe and he saw what were doing in Iraq. Even though we have been in negotiations with him, the capture of Saddam has clearly had a profound effect on him. As I said before, I think he's made a very wise decision and surely this is a huge burden off of his shoulders.
Kevin Brown, Knoville, USA

I certainly am impressed by the sudden willingness of Libya to engage the international community. I think that this sort of cooperation deserves to have mutual engagement returned. Libya should be rewarded for its efforts and allowed to rejoin the international community.
Anon, Bloomington, USA

Libya should have kept its WMD and demanded that Israel and Western European countries get rid of theirs first. Libya, however, should dismantle its regime of mass oppression.
Sam Maram, Toronto, Canada

President Muammar Gaddafi's willingness to dismantle his WMD is certainly good news for the civilized world. If President Gaddafi is sincere about his intention, then the world must help to end Libya's isolation. Since President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain are eager to eliminate WMD around developing nations, they should help President Gaddafi to be accepted as equal partner for peace.
Jaward Sesay, Philadelphia, USA

Gaddafi's decision should be welcomed as a major relief in a world that inches towards mutual destruction every day
Patrick B. Sosu, Atlanta, USA
Given the history of hostility toward Libya by the major western powers, and the subsequent resort to aggressive behaviour by Libya as a means to "defend" itself, I believe that President Muammar Gaddafi's decision to desist from pursuing the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction should be welcomed as a major relief in a world that inches towards mutual destruction everyday. The world would be a safer place if other countries who are in possession of such weapons would reappraise their inventory (and conscience) and ask themselves if funding for these program could not serve better purpose.
Patrick B. Sosu, Atlanta, GA. USA

"Preach what you practice." To do otherwise is hypocritical. I believe poverty, starvation, and a lack of hope are more of a long-term danger to world peace than WMD. Let's hope common sense prevails today, and every day.
Syed Hasan, Bangladesh

This is good. A clear demonstration of the benefits of negotiation over war. So why was there no negotiation with Iraq? Many lives could have been saved. Yes bring Libya back into the world, and Cuba. Talk to people; trade other than in arms and expand everyone's horizons. And stop the US building more WMD itself.
David, London, UK

To David in London UK. This would not have happened without the precedent set by the recent Iraq war. A number of dictators around the world were watching the war from their toilet seats, and are more open to negotiation now that they see there is the political will in the West - under Blair and Bush - to wage war if necessary. Negotiation is never just negotiation, you are either negotiating with a strong hand or a weak hand. The hand of the West is stronger now as a result of the Iraq war, and hence the breakthrough in Libya. The free world has to negotiate with dictators, it is simply reality, but it has to be done with the threat of a big stick.
Ian Isemonger, Tokyo, Japan

I believe Libya can be rehabilitated. I believe the UK and the USA should support any sincere Libyan effort to rejoin the world community. Libya can set an example for North Korea, Iran, and others: a nation can reverse course and renounce weapons and terrorism. We can help Libya prove there is every advantage in doing so.
Robert Blue, San Diego, California, USA

It looks like the War in Iraq has sent shockwaves
Jonny, Toronto, Canada
Lockerbie restitutions, African Union, renunciation of WMDs... looks like Libya is trying to nudge itself back in the international community while forgoing its rather dreadful past. At this rate, Libya can not only become once-again part of the international community, but maybe even persuade other states to give up their WMDs. It looks like the War in Iraq has sent shockwaves: Libya giving up its WMDs, Iran submitting to snap nuclear checks. North Korea soon (hopefully) will give up its nuclear programs.
Jonny, Toronto, Canada

Thank you Mr. Gaddafi for coming out from behind your lies. However, I believe that there are more Saddams and Gaddafis in the business of WMD. What about other Islamic countries?
Christian Iyiani, Ukehe, Nigeria

So everyone is running around congratulating Blair and Bush on the fact that Libya is giving up weapons of mass destruction. Who gave America and the UK the right to be the holders of the only nuclear forces in the world? The US and UK are attempting to enforce a new colonialism on the world under the guise of combating international terrorism. We do not have the right to impose our will on other nations.

Just reading the comments on this page makes me realise how far down the path we have gone to starting another world conflict. It might appear acceptable to impose restrictions on 'fringe' countries such as Libya and Iraq, but are we going to do the same with Pakistan and India? Weapons of mass destruction are dreadful things, but perhaps we should turn our attention to the only country in the world that has ever had the self-conceit to use them. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Mike Thompson, Hessle, England

It is an example to all nations that political differences can be resolved peacefully
Ahmed Bishari, Tripoli, Libya
This is indeed a great day for Libya, the UK, and the US. It is an example to all nations that political differences can be resolved peacefully and by negotiations. It also shows a great leadership on all sides.
Ahmed Bishari, Tripoli, Libya

The first step has been made for Libya to be accepted and recognised. But the infinitely important element is to implement full programs aimed at bringing back democracy to the people of Libya, by creating an election free of any corruption and coerces of any source. Foremost, Colonel Gaddafi should step out of his dictatorial seat and allow the people their divine right to speak their own minds and to be allowed to work their own destiny.
Sébastien Smith

No way should Libya be allowed to rejoin the international community while the Gaddafi regime runs Libya. Can a leopard change its spots?
Mike Woods, Ormeau, Australia

I applaud Gaddafi - he has shown common sense (surprisingly) and hopefully this hails the start of a new era of peace in the world. However, it will only come to be if the countries which definitely have weapons of mass destruction would show their faith in their ideals by leading the world and disposing of their nuclear weapons - and I mean Bush and Blair as the self appointed world police chiefs. Surely even they realise that by working with the other nuclear powers and dispensing with their weapons they will truly lead.
Alan, English, living in the USA

I think Libya should be given a chance to help in the effort to have a world free from terror
Dr. Jose Nigrin, Guatemala
I think Libya should be given a chance to help in the effort to have a world free from terror. We have to leave behind the Lockerbie tragedy and try to win Muammar Gaddafi to the western values of democracy. He could be a link to the African subcontinent in co-operating with Mandela's South Africa and helping with Zimbabwe's growing problems. He could act as a buffer.
Dr. Jose Nigrin, Guatemala

What right to we have to congratulate other countries for renouncing WMD when UK and USA keep theirs? Who are we planning to use them against? Are we now the "terrorist" threat to the rest of the world? Yes, support the Libyan move but let's all join in.
Steve, England, UK

Unfortunately and fortunately for the Libyan people this news is taken twofold: Yes, they can now join the international community, perhaps be able to live as humans again, yet they will have to do it under a dictator and a person who has no heart or patience for opposition. I don't know if I must offer my congratulations or my condolences for this, as the people are the ones who will suffer, and are yet, still without a voice.
B.C., Canton, Ohio

I am still wondering where the WMD in Iraq are
Yousaf, London
I am really not bothered about Libya at the moment. I am still wondering where the WMD in Iraq are. Whatever Blair and Bush's spin machine come up with, they will never be able to hide this fact that they invaded Iraq illegally. I do not believe Libya had any WMD program, and even if they had one today it proved that nine months of dialogue worked.
Yousaf, London

This is great news. Mr. Gaddafi is doing what is best for his people and he deserves credit.
Dan, Philadelphia, USA

Libya is a country which has supported terrorism, has an appalling human rights record and admitted to developing WMD. Before Libya is fully accepted into the international community there should be a commitment to democratic reforms, leading to open elections and a liberalisation of Libyan society. I bet the oil companies can't wait that long.
Matt, Tokyo

Yes, Libya should be readmitted to the international community, and Britain and America should be expelled from it, until they follow Libya's lead and dismantle their own WMD systems.
Julian, Brighton, UK

If it were not the principled resolve of Bush and Blair to take action against dictators like Saddam Hussein, this world would still be reeling under the threat of al-Qaeda and terrorist regimes flirting with WMDs. Now Bush and Blair have put an end to that. Look now how these dictators are rushing in to have their countries inspected for WMDs. Why? Because they are seeing the shadow the two "greatest of all time" world leaders holding the big stick and whip.
Charles Mutengambiri, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Libya should be allowed to rejoin the international community... but it must be scrutinized very carefully
Muhammad Ali Panhwar, Khairpur, Pakistan
Sure, Libya should be allowed to rejoin the international community, on the basis of transparency, giving up evil doings, and accepting international norms & values. But it must be scrutinized very carefully before taking any such decision.
Muhammad Ali Panhwar, Khairpur, Pakistan

What exactly are these alleged weapons of mass destruction which Mr Blair claims Libya has forsaken? Nuclear missiles? Biological weapons? Catapults with stink bombs? Our Prime Minister did not say. Why did he make his claims live on BBC News when he could have made a statement to the House of Commons which was still sitting only two days ago? Can he offer any reason why Syria has retained its membership of the "international community" while Libya must apply to rejoin?
Paul May, London, UK

It's nice to see that Muammar Gaddafi make such a declaration, and with a sense of cautious optimism, I hope that the international community will accept Libya back in good standing. Down that road, it may become apparent that this is a direct side-effect of the strong stance the coalition governments have taken in the war on terror recently.
Matthew, Stockton, USA

Despite his dubious mental status and his past actions regarding Lockerbie, Gaddafi is by no means a dictator in the mould of Saddam Hussein. I applaud Libya's decision in renouncing its weapons programmes, the rest of the world should take a lesson from this, including Uncle Sam - by far the largest holder of WMDs
Jeff, Loughborough, UK

President Gaddafi's policy is the first tangible benefit of a US strategy which has on the balance been unprofitable for world peace and security.
Werner S, Lake Forest, Ilinois, USA

The negotiated settlement with Libya shows that Blair and Bush blundered into Iraq
Johannes Holub, NYC, USA
The negotiated settlement with Libya shows that Blair and Bush blundered into Iraq when they could have waited. Instead they exaggerated the WMD threat and are now in a situation from which it will be difficult to extricate themselves, at a cost of many thousand human lives.
Johannes Holub, NYC, USA

I applauded Libya's decision to dismantle their nuclear weapon program. I think other countries like U.S, Russia, India, Pakistan, China, etc., should do the same.
Joy, Vancouver, Canada

I think it is a great gesture on his part to give up the weapons we have been looking for in Iraq, as he has only had them for such a short time. How far do we trust him? that is the question.
Steve Rose, Manitowoc

There is still a long way to go
Al Lewis, England, UK
Excellent news. Gaddafi has been working brilliantly to promote economic development programmes and peace in North Africa. Yes, he is a dictator. Yes, there is still a long way to go. But surely a man who got kicked out of the Arab League for daring to suggest that Israel have a seat within the Arab League is a better bet than most to work with in that region. Well done, Mr Gaddafi. I look forward to visiting Libya once again in the near future. A truly beautiful country.
Al Lewis, England, UK

I think Libya can be accepted back in the community of nations but only if democracy is restored there.
Moavizb, Peshawar, Pakistan

Are Bush and Blair not interested in 'liberating' the people of Libya from a dictatorship? Is it not all about compliance with Bush and Blair's demands and not the liberation of oppressed people?
Munsif Jan, Melbourne, Australia

Gaddafi has been moving toward reconciliation with the West for some time now
Wade, NYC, USA
Seriously, does anyone really think that Libya ever had a credible WMD programme? Gaddafi has been moving toward reconciliation with the West for some time now. I believe he is claiming to abandon said programme to further his positive standing.
Wade, NYC, USA

Gadaffi is starting to behave responsibly and should be given credit. His good behaviour should be rewarded by acceptance back into the international community. This is critical to setting an example for the other Arab states and demonstrating that rapprochement with the West is possible, for the benefit of everybody.
Allen Thompson, Brady, Texas, USA

There's never been any real reason for them to become outcast in the first place. Libya is no worse than tens of other countries who can rest perfectly happily within the international community, it's just it's in an important strategic position, (can anyone say "oil"?), and it's never kowtowed to Washington.
Ben, Oxford, UK

This is a historic day. I have never held Libya in high regard, but I now stand proud of the courage Libya has taken on this issue as well as others in the past few years. I think it's time the US and EU resumed full diplomatic and trade relations with Libya as thanks for this courageous act.
Bob, Bay Area, USA

It will help to make the region and the world safer
Michael, Canada
Libya's renouncing of WMD is terrific. It will help to make the region and the world safer. Perhaps this will give President Gaddafi the moral authority to demand that all nations in the region, including Israel give up WMDs. And then the arms race in that part of the globe will at least slow down. In this season of light and peace, let us pray that it may be so.
Michael, Canada

Of course - when a country's leadership shows that they regret evil past actions and follow the international community's guidelines in remedying these errors - which Libya has done - then we should lift our sanctions. International politics should always be idealistic and optimistic.
Gs, France

Yes. Gaddafi has renounced his terrorist past and appears to be trying to be good world citizen who is trying to build Pan-African multilateralism in a democratic fashion. We should let him do the right thing.
Jay Stewart, Olympia, Washington, USA

The international community has always existed in its own right
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK
Enter the 'New American Century'. Now we need American approval for everything. The international community has always existed in its own right. It's not a 'club'. No country needed 'permission' to belong.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

Three cheers for Tony Blair! Post 9/11 Mr Blair recognised the 21st century threat, formulated a policy and has acted on it and despite all the harsh criticism it won him, it is succeeding.
Jared, USA

Not yet. Let's see if Gaddafi is serious about ending Libya's recent history as a terrorist nation. And try to remember, my European friends, the guy is a dictator. Try not to gush over his decision just yet.
Jack, Boston, USA

With the credible use of force hanging over their heads - countries that had not adhered to non-proliferation treaties and who flouted the international community by developing WMDs - are now realising that the only solution for them is to abandon these programmes. The world is a safer place because of Blair and Bush.
Sam, Austin, USA

Not yet. Gaddafi is scared that what happened to Saddam might happen to him.
Paul, Texas, USA

Don't know, don't care. Tell Blair to forget trying to solve the world's problems and get a grip back in the UK.
John, UK

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