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Libya losing patience with United States

March 11, 2009 at 3:54 PM

TRIPOLI, Libya, March 11 (UPI) -- Libyan officials criticized the United States for its apparent lack of follow-through on incentives offered for the shutdown of its nuclear weapons program.

Officials in Tripoli told The New York Times that the slow response by the United States could undermine the Obama administration's efforts to convince other nations to halt their development of weapons of mass destruction.

"We gave some devices, some centrifuges, for example for America, but what do you give us? Nothing," complained Libya's Ambassador to the United Nations Abdelrahman Shalgham. "That's why we think North Korea and Iran are hesitating now to have a breakthrough regarding their projects."

The Times said the Libyan government was still waiting for U.S. pledges of assistance with civilian nuclear programs, chemical weapons disposal and the possible sale of military equipment.

Khaled Bazelya, a member of Libya's National Economic Development Board, told the Times: "You give something, you expect something in return; that's the Arab way. The expectation here is very high but the West is not responding."

A White House official told the newspaper that relations between the two nations were still delicate and that Libya may be "unrealistic" about the amount of time the U.S. response requires.

Libya agreed in December 2003 to dismantle its nuclear program.

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