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US Lawmakers Begin Libya Visit - 2004-01-25

A U.S. congressional delegation has landed in Libya for a three-day visit with government officials. The trip to Libya is the first by American lawmakers since Moammar Gadhafi took power in 1969.

Pennsylvania congressman Curt Weldon said he is in Libya to reinforce the positive steps taken by Moammar Gadhafi, who recently agreed to dismantle his country's weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Mr. Weldon said that if Libya continues its progress, restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Libya is a very real likelihood.

Representative Weldon, a Republican vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is joined by a bipartisan delegation of six lawmakers.

Congressman Tom Lantos, the senior Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, arrived in Libya on Saturday.

The legislators expect to meet with government officials and the Libyan leader during their visit, although a meeting with Mr. Gadhafi has not been confirmed.

In exchange for eliminating its nuclear and biological weapons programs, Libya wants to bring an end to U.S. economic sanctions that have been in place for some two decades.