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Gadhafi Claims Miniscule Reward for Giving up Pursuit of WMD


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says the international community should have offered Tripoli a better payback for renouncing its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Gaddhafi told France's Le Figaro newspaper that he was "a bit disappointed" that Libya was not better rewarded for what he described as Tripoli's contribution to international peace. In clearer terms, that translates as Libya's decision last year to scrap its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

That decision has led to the end of years-long United Nations sanctions against Libya, and helped improve diplomatic ties between the North African country and a number of Western nations. That includes relations with France whose president, Jacques Chirac, arrived in Tripoli Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Chirac's visit to Libya is the first by a French head of state in more than half a century.

British, German and Italian leaders have also visited Libya in recent months.

But Mr. Gadhafi told Le Figaro that in exchange for scrapping its weapons program, Libya should at least receive guarantees from the international community to protect its national security, and help in transforming its weapons material for peaceful, civilian use. The Libyan leader specifically faulted Japan, Europe and the United States.

Since Libya was not rewarded, Mr. Gadhafi warned, other countries like North Korea and Iran would not be inclined to follow Libya's example and dismantle their own weapons programs. He said he had already had talks to this effect with officials from the two countries.

Mr. Gadhafi's complaints were part of a wide-ranging interview he gave to the French newspaper. He also criticized foreign intervention in Afghanistan during the Soviet era, and more recently in Iraq, saying both resulted in toppling secular regimes and in spawning Islamist terrorism.

In addition, Mr. Gadhafi criticized the presence of French peacekeepers in the conflict-torn Ivory Coast, saying it eroded trust built between France and African countries.

But Mr. Gadhafi hailed the reelection of President Bush earlier this month as being in Libya's interest. It was under Mr. Bush, the Libyan leader noted, that Tripoli reached an agreement to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.

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