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Powell Meets Libyan Counterpart on Improving Relations - 2004-09-23

Secretary of State Colin Powell met Thursday with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgham in the highest-level contact between the two governments in decades. Both are in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

The meeting at Mr. Powell's New York hotel underscored the sharp improvement in bilateral relations that began last year when Libya accepted responsibility for bombing a U.S. Pan Am jetliner over Scotland in 1988, and renounced weapons of mass destruction.

The two men shook hands and smiled, but made no remarks at the start of the meeting, which a U.S. official said would follow-up on the Libyan actions and discuss what comes next.

President Bush earlier this week lifted most remaining U.S. economic sanctions against Libya, which cleared the way for another Libyan compensation payment to families of victims of the Pan Am flight 103 attack.

The United States has opened a diplomatic mission in Libya after a break of more than two decades, though Libya remains on the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism.