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U.S. restores full relations with Libya

WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- The United States is renewing full diplomatic relations with Libya after deciding to remove it from a list of states backing terrorism.

"I am pleased to announce that the United States is restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya. We will soon open an embassy in Tripoli," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement Monday. "In addition, the United States intends to remove Libya from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism.

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"Libya will also be omitted from the annual certification of countries not cooperating fully with United States' anti-terrorism efforts," Rice said.

"We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since Sept. 11, 2001," she said.

Rice said the decision flowed from what she called "the historic decisions taken by Libya's leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs."

Rice said the move would "open the door to a broader bilateral relationship with the United States that will allow us to better discuss other issues of importance."

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"Those issues include protection of universal human rights, promotion of freedom of speech and expression, and expansion of economic and political reform consistent with President Bush's freedom agenda," she said.

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