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Libyan Foreign Minister Asks U.S. To Resume Relations

May 28, 1991

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) _ Libyan Foreign Minister Ibrahim Bishari has asked the United States and Britain to resume relations with his radical North African Arab nation, the London-based newsletter Mideast Mirror said Monday.

He invited U.S. oil companies that quit Libya as part of U.S. economic sanctions to return, saying this ″would benefit the American economy as well, because they can get several billion dollars a year in profits out of this.″

Bishari denied charges that Libya was supporting terrorists, undermining other countries and producing chemical weapons - reasons cited by Washington for shunning ties with the Tripoli government.

″Libya opposes all form of terrorism, pledges not to produce any weapon of mass destruction and invites American companies to help operate the Rabta pharmaceutical plant, which will be opened soon,″ he was quoted as saying.

The interview will be published Tuesday. Advance excerpts were faxed to The Associated Press in Bahrain.

U.S. warships were deployed off Libya in January 1989 following charges that Rabta was designed to produce chemical weapons. U.S. Navy planes shot down two Libyan jets that challenged them over the Mediterranean.

In January 1990, U.S. officials said Libya appeared to have a second chemical weapons plant under construction at another location.

President Bush in January extended sanctions on Libya first imposed in 1986.

Former President Ronald Reagan froze Libyan assets in the United States and imposed a trade and economic embargo in 1986 after attacks on Israeli airline offices in Rome and Vienna were linked to the Abu Nidal Palestinian group, then based in Libya.

In April 1986, U.S. warplanes attacked Libya after allegations that Libya was involved in bombing a West Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. soldiers.

The United States closed its embassy in Libya in 1981.

Bishari said his government was ready to meet with the United States at any level.

He also invited Britain to resume relations. British-Libyan relations were broken in April 1984 after gunfire from the Libyan Embassy in London killed a policewoman and injured 11 other people.

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