Rice Set for Historic Meet With Gadhafi

First secretary of state visit to Libya in 55 years
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2008 3:13 AM CDT
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi during the Arab Summit in Damascus, Syria last March.    (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
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(Newser) – Condoleezza Rice will become  first US secretary of state to visit Libya since the Eisenhower administration when she meets Friday with leader Moammar Gadhafi, reports the Voice of America. The meeting demonstrates the radical improvement in relations between the two nations since Gadhafi turned away from terrorism and scrapped Libya's weapons of mass destruction program in 2003.

President Ronald Reagan once called Gadhafi the "mad dog of the Middle East"—but officials say those days are over. "We don't refer to Colonel Gadhafi in those terms today," said Assistant Secretary of State David Welch. "He has undertaken certain decisions which have really changed things. It's important to recognize that."
(Read more Libya stories.)