EU lifts sanctions on Libya

Posted in Europe | 12-Oct-04 | Source: Guardian

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
The EU ended 12 years of economic sanctions against Libya yesterday and effectively lifted an arms embargo, in response to Tripoli abandoning plans to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The move, agreed at an EU foreign ministers' meeting, reflected a warming of relations in recent months.

The ministers implemented a 2003 UN decision to drop a trade embargo against Libya and downgraded their ban on arms sales to Tripoli imposed in 1986 to technical restraints.

"Libya is among the first countries to dismantle ... its weapons of mass destruction programme under international supervision," the foreign ministers said.

The Foreign Office minister, Lady Symons, will travel to Tripoli today for a three-day trip, a senior British official said yesterday, "to take forward" Libya's integration into the world community.

Friction remains on human rights, most notably a Libyan court's sentencing to death in May of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with the HIV virus. Human rights groups say Libya concocted the story to hide unsafe practices in its hospitals.