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Top US Envoy Arrives in Libya; British PM to Follow - 2004-03-23

The top U.S. envoy to the Middle East has arrived in Tripoli in a sign of improving relations with Libya.

U.S. envoy William Burns arrived in Tripoli Tuesday, becoming the highest-level American diplomat to visit the country in more than 30 years. And British authorities in Tripoli confirm Prime Minister Tony Blair will visit Libya later this week, although an exact day was not disclosed. Mr. Blair would become the first British prime minister to visit Libya in modern history.

The visits are the result of improved relations with Libya following its decision last December to scrap its weapons of mass destruction program. The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Saif al-Islam Ghadafi, told the Qatar-based al-Watan newspaper on Tuesday that Libyan-British military cooperation and a lifting of economic sanctions against Libya would be on the agenda.

Both the prime minister and Mr. Burns are expected to meet with Libya's leader.

Britain and the United States played a key role in convincing Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction program in return for normalization of relations.