WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department is restoring diplomatic relations with Libya and intends to remove the country from its sponsors of terrorism list.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday said the moves come "in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided" in response to possible terror attacks.
The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Libya since 1980 and the State Department has long included Tripoli on its list of designated state sponsors of terrorism. Libya could be removed from that list in the next two months, after a period set aside for public comment.
Rice said Monday's announcement stems from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2003 saying he was abandoning any weapons of mass destruction program and renouncing terrorism.
"Libya is an important model as nations around the world press for changes in behavior by the Iranian and North Korean regimes -- changes that could be vital to international peace and security," Rice said in a release.