U.S. downplayed Libyan death plot

June 15, 2004 at 7:59 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- While negotiating with Libya over disarmament, U.S. officials were aware Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was plotting to kill the leader of Saudi Arabia.

Citing government officials who requested anonymity, USA Today reported authorities went ahead with the negotiations because of the importance attached to Libya's disarmament and the fact the alleged attack on Crown Prince Abdullah had been exposed and no longer posed a threat.

At the time of the disarmament talks, Gadhafi was making public overtures and pledging cooperation to expedite the end of various sanctions and embargoes on the country.

On Dec. 19, Gadhafi agreed to shut down programs aimed at producing weapons of mass destruction.

"We made it clear to the Libyans that they had to stop," said one U.S. official. "They provided assurances that they wouldn't use violent means to settle political differences, but did not admit" the plot against Abdullah.

Despite the alleged murder plot, the Saudis did not object to the disarmament deal, said the U.S. official, who added the question of Gadhafi's alleged assassination involvement must be resolved before the United States can lift additional sanctions against Libya.

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