News & Current Affairs

September 5, 2008

Rice making historic Libya visit

Rice making historic Libya visit

Condoleezza Rice in Lisbon before going to Libya - 5/9/2008

The US state department described the visit as a “new chapter” in relations

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed as “historic” her visit to Libya to meet its leader Muammar Gaddafi.

But she pointed out the “suffering” caused by the North African country’s long stand-off with the West.

Libya was on the US state department list of sponsors of terrorism until 2003, when it abandoned weapons of mass destruction and renounced terrorism.

Ms Rice will be the first US secretary of state to visit Libya since 1953.

“It is a historic moment and it is one that has come after a lot of difficulty, the suffering of many people that will never be forgotten or assuaged,” Ms Rice told a news conference in Lisbon, Portugal, before leaving for Libya.

Her trip will also include visits to Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

But the visit could be overshadowed by Libya’s failure so far to honour a deal offering compensation to families of victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Six years ago, such a visit would have seemed far-fetched, but diplomacy and political will have overcome the obstacles.

The US State Department have described it as a “new chapter” in relations between the two countries, following on from the restoration of diplomatic ties in 2006.

‘Way forward’

Earlier this month, Libya agreed to pay compensation to families of the victims of the Lockerbie aircraft bombing, for which it formally accepted responsibility in 2003.

The deal includes compensation for Libyan victims of the United States’ retaliatory bombing raid over Libya in 1986.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi  (file image)

Ms Rice’s visit was partly intended to be a reward for successful completion of the deal, but Libya has not yet transferred the promised hundreds of millions of dollars into a humanitarian account.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Welch, told Reuters that he was optimistic the transfer would happen soon but that Ms Rice would press Libya on this issue.

Col Gaddafi has stopped short of referring to America as a friend, but in a televised speech this week he said improved relations were a way for both countries to leave each other alone.

Assistant Secretary of State Paula DeSutter told a briefing in Washington on Thursday that the visit would show other countries they have “a way forward” if they change their behaviour and co-operate with the US.

Our correspondent says that although the visit is largely symbolic diplomacy, many in Libya hope that US-Libyan relations will only improve in the long-run.


What do you think about Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Libya? Send us your comments

Advertisements

July 30, 2008

Moyes nears new Everton contract

Moyes nears new Everton contract

Everton manager David Moyes is “very close” to signing a new contract with the club and expects to do so within the next fortnight.

Moyes, 45, admits that trying to sign new players recently has delayed him from agreeing terms on a new deal.

“I want the best for Everton and don’t want to let the players down,” he said.

“I have told them that there will be more players coming to help them along the way. I want to make sure that is done before anything else.”

He added: “That is more important to me just now. But [the new contract] is very close.”

“Hopefully in the next week or so I will get it tied down and get it done.”

Moyes, who joined Everton as manager in 2002, confirmed in mid-July that he had opened talks on a new contract with chairman Bill Kenwright.

The Scot has 12 months left on his current deal but made it known that he wanted assurances on this summer’s transfer budget and the club’s future direction.

Everton, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, are yet to make a major signing this summer – though Sporting Lisbon claim they have turned down an £11.8m offer from the club for Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho.

Moyes submitted an ambitious five-year plan to owner Kenwright that was designed to build on the club’s last campaign but it remains to be seen how much cash he has to spend.

“Every manager wants to get as much as he can and I’m no different but I do think I’ve always been supported and I’ll always be grateful for that,” Moyes told the Liverpool Echo on 14 July.

“When I took this job I knew that there were not vast sums of money.”

Everton are on the verge of selling striker Andrew Johnson to Fulham, in a deal which could eventually rise to £13m.

The England international had a medical with the London club on Tuesday.

Blog at WordPress.com.