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EU, Libya ties hingeon German dispute

Published on 22/04/2004

22 April 2004

BRUSSELS – Arrangements for a ground-breaking visit to European Union headquarters by Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi are still being thrashed out with ties between Tripoli and the EU dependent on the outcome of a dispute with Germany.

Indeed, the Gaddafi visit is still being discussed with authorities in Tripoli, the European Commission said Thursday.

“We cannot confirm anything yet,” said a Commission spokesman, adding, however, that the visit would probably take place on 27 and 28 April.

Gaddafi, who has been ostracised by Western governments because of allegations he sponsored terrorism, is expected to meet European Commission President Romano Prodi and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt in Brussels.

The trip follows high-level Libyan contacts with Britain and the United States following Tripoli’s decision last December to come clean on its programme of weapons of mass destruction.

Prodi, a former Italian premier, has long sought closer ties with Libya.

But diplomats said closer EU-Libyan ties could depend on the outcome of a dispute between Germany and Libya over compensation for victims of a 1986 nightclub bombing in west Berlin.

The dispute is also believed to be blocking the lifting of an EU arms embargo imposed in 1986 and could delay Libya’s plans to join the Euro-Mediterranean partnership dialogue.

EU officials said that Gaddafi would also be asked about the fate of six Bulgarian medics who have been detained in Tripoli since 1999 on charges of having deliberately infected hundreds of children with the HIV virus.


Subject: German news