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Blair to Travel to Libya for Historic Visit - 2004-03-23

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to visit Libya this week, making him the first British leader to visit Tripoli in modern history. The visit follows Libya's decision last December to give up its weapons of mass destruction program.

British officials in Tripoli are confirming that Prime Minister Tony Blair will be visiting the Libyan capital later this week, although an exact day was not disclosed.

Announcement of the prime minister's visit came from the son of Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi, according to the al-Watan newspaper published in Qatar. The newspaper says Saif al-Islam Ghadafi spoke to reporters in Qatar.

The Libyan leader's son said, among other things, that Libyan-British military cooperation would be discussed as well as a lifting of economic sanctions against Libya for its role in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of a U.S. airliner over Scotland.

Mr. Blair's visit is not totally unexpected. Britain, along with 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.