US Envoy Visits Libya; Rice May Be Next
Rice would be first secretary of state to visit since 1953
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 22, 2007 9:36 AM CDT
ard for the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. In the background is the house bombed by American planes in 1986, where Gadhafi's daughter died. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A leading State Department official has arrived in Libya, laying the groundwork for a probable visit by Condoleezza Rice later in the year. The envoy, David Welch, will discuss improvements to US-Libyan relations and compensation for victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the BBC reports. Since 2003, when the Gaddafi regime accepted responsibility for the Pan Am attack, relations with Tripoli have steadily improved.

Rice has said she would consider a visit once the Libyans released the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian medic who were held for eight years for allegedly infecting children with HIV. The Libyan foreign ministry hopes Rice will come to Tripoli as soon as next month; she would be the first US secretary of state to visit Libya since 1953.