Photo: The Libyan and the American delegations at the signing ceremony in Tripoli, 14 August 2008.
The Deal May Lead to Normalization of Relations between the Two Countires
Tripoli-- Libya and the United States have signed Thursday a compensation deal for Libyan victims of American attacks against Libya and American victims of alleged Libyan reprisals, paving the way for full normalization of ties between the two countries.
The deal covers 26 lawsuits filed by American citizens against Libya and three by Libyan citizens against the US terrorist actions committed against them.
Among the Libyan who are to be compensated is Ma'atiqa, the young girl who was killed by the Americans in the 1960s as she lived at her home near the American Wheelus Air Base (now Ma'atiqa International Airport) in the eastern suburbs of Tripoli, a Libyan pilot whose aircraft was shot down by American air force on the Libyan Bumba Gulf in the eighties as well as the victims of the American aggression on Tripoli and Benghazi during the Reagan administration in 1986.
The agreement was signed by visiting US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs David Welch and Libyan Secretary of Americas Affairs Ahmad Fituri at the conclusion of a series of high level meetings.
Fituri told reporters that inking the deal was "the crowning of a long process of exhausting negotiations" and added that "there was a desire on both sides to find a conclusion to this issue."
Welch, too, was upbeat after the signing ceremony and said "this is a very important agreement. This turns a new page in our relationship." "This agreement signed today is designed to resolve the last major historical issue that has stood in the way of a more normal relationship between our two countries," Welch added.
"Under this agreement each country's citizens can receive fair compensation for past incidents. When fulfilled, the agreement will permit Libya and the US to develop their relations."
Welch arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday and was received by the Leader of the Revolution Muammar Al-Qathafi in Tripoli.
Welch handed the Leader a letter from the US President George W. Bush in which expressed his "satisfaction" at the improvement in relations between Washington and Tripoli.
Bush's message also stressed "the important role Libya is playing internationally and expressed his hope that cooperation between the two countries would continue," the Libyan news agency JANA reported.