Libya denies Israel meeting

Jan. 7, 2004 at 4:52 PM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Libya denied Wednesday its officials met with Israelis to develop relations after Tripoli renounced its program to make weapons of mass destruction.

"Some media have reported information according to which a meeting between Libyan and Israeli officials had taken place," a Foreign Ministry spokesman told a news conference. "... It is important to stress that the official authorities in Libya have during the last 48 hours that followed the rumor undertaken an inquiry and found no trace of this matter."

The official challenged those who published such information to prove it and reveal the time, the place and the people involved.

The denial came after Israeli Knesset member Ephraim Sneh said there was a possibility Israel could establish diplomatic links with Libya.

Sneh, confirming a report he and fellow legislator Ilan Shalgi met recently with the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, said Wednesday the Libyan leader was not averse to diplomatic ties, Ha'aretz newspaper reported.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has launched a diplomatic initiative to develop ties with Libya following Gadhafi's announcement his country was scrapping its weapons of mass destruction.

Sneh told Israel Radio of an August meeting involving Israelis, Palestinians, and the Libyan leader's son and heir apparent, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi.

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