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Bush, Blair to Visit Libya Soon, Kadafi’s Son Says

From Reuters

A leading Arab newspaper on Wednesday quoted Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi’s son as saying President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair would visit the North African country early next year.

There was no immediate comment in Washington on Bush’s plans. A spokeswoman in Blair’s London office said: “We do not comment on the prime minister’s movements for security reasons.”

The London-based daily Al Sharq al Awsat said Seif Islam Kadafi told the paper in a telephone interview that Blair would visit Tripoli early next year. He said he did not expect a U.S. trade embargo on his country to last long.

“This will be followed by a visit by U.S. President George Bush, and I expect it after the American embargo is raised. I don’t think the embargo will last any more than three months at most,” the son was quoted as saying.

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In Tripoli, Libya’s official Jana news agency said Foreign Minister Abderrahmane Chalgam had received an invitation from his British counterpart Jack Straw to visit London. It gave no date.

Kadafi’s oil-rich state, long on the U.S. list of sponsors of terrorism, said last week it was abandoning plans to build an atomic bomb and other weapons of mass destruction.

The son, whom analysts say Kadafi is grooming to succeed him, said plans to develop long-range missiles never got beyond preliminary stages.


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