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Israel and Libya establish contact

Jan. 6, 2004 at 6:56 PM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Israel initiated diplomatic contacts with Tripoli after Libya announced it was forgoing weapons of mass destruction.

Ron Prosor, the head of the foreign minister's diplomatic staff met a Libyan representative in Paris a fortnight ago to bring about the beginning of a dialogue with Libya, Israel's Channel 1 TV reported Tuesday.

Prosor was in Ethiopia with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Tuesday, and could not be reached for comment.

Earlier, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Seyassah said Israeli and Libyan diplomats met in Vienna and agreed an Israeli team would go to Tripoli within weeks to discuss normalization.

The Ha'aretz newspaper's website quoted unnamed U.S. and British diplomats as saying the possibility of relations with Israel arose in their talks over dismantling weapons of mass destruction and the Libyans did not hesitate when the thaw was discussed.

However, Yediot Aharonot's website Ynet, quoted unnamed political sources as saying "if we are talking about a 1,000 kilometer trek, we are hardly in the first kilometer."

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