Libyan prime minister to visit France

16th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 16 (AFP) - Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem is due to make an official visit to Paris from April 19 to 21, the French foreign ministry said Friday, describing his stay as a mark of improved bilateral diplomatic ties.

PARIS, April 16 (AFP) - Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem is due to make an official visit to Paris from April 19 to 21, the French foreign ministry said Friday, describing his stay as a mark of improved bilateral diplomatic ties.

"This visit constitutes a new stage in the development of Franco-Libyan relations", said ministry spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo. It follows a visit to Paris in January by Libya's foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam.

Ghanem will be welcomed Monday by French President Jacques Chirac and will meet with Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin later in the day.

Discussions with Foreign Minister Michel Barnier are planned for Wednesday.Libya has undegrone a radical diplomacy shift in the past year, first agreeing to award massive compensation for victims of the Lockerbie plane bombing in 1988, then publicly dismantling its illicit weapons programmes.

The moves have brought the oil-rich north African desert state led by Colonel Moamer Kadhafi back from pariah-status isolation to contact with Western powers, which have expressed eagerness to renew business ties.

Relations have gradually warmed between Paris and Tripoli, too, after years of tension over the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, which was blamed on Libya.

In January, a foundation headed by Kadhafi's son signed an agreement to compensate the families of the 170 victims of the Niger bombing, lifting the last obstacle to a normalization of relations.

Ghanem is also expected next week to meet with Trade Minister Francois Loos, who travelled to Libya last month accompanied by a delegation of French business leaders, and with parliamentary spekaer Jean-Louis Debre, Pozzo di Borgo said.


© AFP                                                   

                                                         Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article