Libya Africa Travel Guide - Libya Tourist Attractions, Libya Transportation, Libya Hotels and Accommodations

Libya Travel Guide

Libya Hotels

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Libya Sahara Desert

Libya Travel Informations and Libya Travel Guides
Libya Name
Libya Politics
Libya Foreign Relations
Libya Cooperation with Italy
Libya Human Rights

Libya Administrative Divisions
Libya Geography
Libyan Desert
Libya Economy
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Libyan Education

Libyan Religion
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Libya Contemporary Travel
Libyan Cuisine

Libya History:
Libya Ancient Libya
Libya Phoenicians
Libya Greeks
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Libya Under Islam
Libya Ottoman Turks
Libya Italian Colony

United Kingdon of Libya
Modern Libya

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Libya Foreign Relations

Libya's foreign policies have undergone much fluctuation and change since the state was proclaimed on December 24, 1951. As a Kingdom, Libya maintained a definitively pro-Western stance, yet was recognized as belonging to the conservative traditionalist bloc in the League of Arab States, of which it became a member in 1953. The government was in close alliance with Britain and the United States; both countries maintained military base rights in Libya. Libya also forged close ties with France, Italy, Greece, and established full diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1955.

Although the government supported Arab causes, including the Moroccan and Algerian independence movements, it took little active part in the Arab-Israeli dispute or the tumultuous inter-Arab politics of the 1950s and early 1960s. The Kingdom was noted for its close association with the West, while it steered an essentially conservative course at home.

After the 1969 coup, Gaddafi closed American and British bases and partially nationalized foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West, especially the United States, to end support for Israel. Gaddafi rejected both Eastern communism and Western capitalism and claimed he was charting a middle course for his government.

In the 1980s, Libya increasingly distanced itself from the United States, based on the principle of non-alignment and the adoption of a middle path between capitalism and communism referred to as "the Third Theory". The animosity was deepened due to Gaddafi’s support for groups like the Palestine Liberation Organization, which were considered terrorist by the USA, and his flirtation with the Soviet Union, which at the time represented the sole challenger to the US. Secretary of State Alexander Haig considered Libya as “a Soviet satellite” and a “Soviet-run terrorist training network". When Libya intervened in Chad in 1980 it was perceived by the American authorities as the Soviet Union’s attempt to spread control in Africa. In addition to this, Gaddafi’s opposition to Israel, a United States ally and considered by them to be the only democratic state in the region, were enough reasons to have Libya considered an American enemy. Consequently, Reagan administration began its campaign of assisting Libya’s neighbors militarily to be able to respond to any Libyan attempt to invade them. Tunisia was given some fifty-four M60 tanks plus $15 million in military credits, while other countries like Egypt and Sudan were given an increase in military credits and training with a full-fledged promise of support in face of Libyan threats. These strategies aimed at isolating Libya and pressure it to reconsider its policies towards the US.

The first confrontation with the United States was when Gaddafi had declared two hundred miles of the Gulf of Sidra to be restricted of any international usage; having defied such declaration Libyan air force fired a missile at a US Boeing EC-135 flight. The attack did not cause any damages to the aircraft, and Jimmy Carter, the U.S. President at the time, did not respond militarily. Allegedly, Gaddafi had secretly ordered the burning down of the US embassy in Tripoli as his fight against the United States. In response U.S. President Ronald Reagan had the "Libyan People's Bureau" closed, and oil imports banned from North African States. Reagan also contested the restricted area defined by Gaddafi based on a 1958 convention that stated that countries were allowed to claim twenty four miles of width from their coasts. On August 19, 1981 the navy was sent close to Libya's coast which resulted in a confrontation where two of the SU-22 fighters supplied to Libya by the Soviet Union were shot down. Following this, Libya was implicated in committing mass acts of state-sponsored terrorism. When CIA allegedly intercepted two messages implying Libyan complicity in the Berlin discothèque terrorist bombing that killed two American servicemen, the United States found this a good enough reason to launch an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986. The Attack, Operation El Dorado Canyon, was not sanctioned by France and Spain, who refused to allow US F-111 bombers to fly over their territories, and resulted in death of several civilians, including Gaddafi's two-year old adopted daughter.

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the United States and the United Kingdom for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. Six other Libyans were put on trial in absentia for the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772. The UN Security Council demanded that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims' families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions on the state designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to further sanctions by the UN against Libya in November 1993.

In 1999, less than a decade after the sanctions were put in place, Libya began to make dramatic policy changes in regard to the Western world, including turning over the Lockerbie suspects for trial. This diplomatic breakthrough followed years of negotiation, including a visit by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Libya in December 1998, and personal appeals by Nelson Mandela. Eventually UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook persuaded the Americans to accept a trial of the suspects in the Netherlands under Scottish law, with the UN Security Council agreeing to suspend sanctions as soon as the suspects arrived in the Netherlands for trial.

In response to 9/11 attacks Gaddafi condemned the attacks as an act of terrorism and urged Libyans to donate blood for the US victims. However, the United States were still not willing to remove the sanctions of Libya yet. After the invasion of Iraq based on allegations that it had WMD programs violating non-proliferation treaty, and the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Libyan government announced its decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programmes and pay almost 3 billion US dollars in compensation to the families of Pan Am flight 103 as well as UTA Flight 772. According to some sources Gaddafi had privately phoned Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi expressing his fear that his regime will meet the same fate if he did not take such steps. The decision was welcomed by many western nations and was seen as an important step for Libya toward rejoining the international community. Since 2003 the country has made efforts to normalize its ties with the European Union and the United States and has even coined the catchphrase, 'The Libya Model', an example intended to show the world what can be achieved through negotiation rather than force when there is goodwill on both sides. By 2004 Bush had lifted the economic sanctions on Libya and official relations resumed between Libya and the United States. Libya then opened a Liaison office in Washington, DC and the United States opened an office in Tripoli. In January 2004, Congressman Tom Lantos led the first official Congressional delegation visit to Libya.

An event considered pivotal by many in Libyan-Western relations is the HIV trials of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. Their release is seen as marking a new stage in Libyan-Western relations.

On May 15, 2006 the United States State Department announced it would fully restore diplomatic relations with Libya if it dismantled its weapons programmes. The State Department also removed Libya from their state sponsored terrorism list which it had been on for 27 years. This move has also been attributed to the pressures of oil companies lobbying the Congress. In addition to that the fall of the Soviet power, the prominent role that Libya plays in the African Continent, and the assistance it could provide to the US in its war on terror are among the other considerations that were factored in. In August 2008 a motion was introduced in the 110th Congress known as S 3370 or the “Libyan Claims Resolution Act” to exempt Libya from the infamous section 1083 clause of the National Defense Authorization Act. The motion passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate by unanimous consent, and is signed into law by President George W. Bush on 4 August. After Libya paid a final portion of $1.8 billion global settlement fund for American victims it became formally exempted from section 1083. Following that Libyan families received $300 million for casualties suffered due to the 1986 airstrikes led by the United States. In November the same year, the United States Senate confirmed Gene A. Cretz as the first US Ambassador to Libya in over 35 years. The final step in the process of rebuilding the relations between the two countries came in January 2009 when Ali Suleiman Aujali presented his letters of credentials to President George W. Bush as Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary of Libya to the United States of America, and Gene A. Cretz presents his letter of credentials before the General People’s Congress; currently both are serving as Ambassadors to their respective countries.

On October 16, 2007, Libya was voted to serve on the United Nations Security Council for two years starting January 2008.

In February 2009, Gaddafi was selected to be chairman of the African Union for one year.

As of October 25, 2009, Canadian visa requests are being denied and Canadian travellers have been told they're not welcome in Libya, in an apparent reprisal for Canada's near tongue-lashing of Moammar Gadhafi. Meanwhile, Libya is still detaining two Swiss businessmen. Libyan-Swiss relations strongly suffered after the arrest of Hannibal Gadhafi in Geneva in 2008.

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Libya Africa Travel Guide - Libya Tourist Attractions, Libya Transportation, Libya Hotels and Accommodations