After years of disagreements and political showdowns, the U.S. State Department (search) has restored diplomacy in Libya (search), Fox News confirmed on Tuesday.

In Washington, a senior State Department official said the United States has two representatives working out of the Belgian Embassy in Tripoli. Both are assisting Libya in efforts to disarm, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We are not ready to announce the establishment of a diplomatic facility and the assignment of diplomatic personnel," the official said. "We are going to have a steady stream of U.S. personnel going in and out of Libya to help work this out."

Also Tuesday, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi held talks in Libya with Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi (search), and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held talks in London with the Libyan foreign minister.

The Italian premier was the first Western leader to visit Libya since Qaddafi promised on Dec. 19 to end development of weapons of mass destruction. Libya is dismantling its nuclear and missile programs and has shipped thousands of pounds of parts to the United States for storage and conversion.

Earlier this month, the Bush administration told Libya some restrictions on commerce may be lifted if the nation keeps scrapping its weapons programs.

Berlusconi and Qaddafi embraced on the Italian leader's arrival in the coastal town of Sirte, then entered a tent in the desert, where they were expected to discuss Mideast issues as well as business between their countries.

Berlusconi has ties with both the United States and Libya. He is a close political ally of President Bush, while Italy ruled the North African nation from 1911-41 and is today its largest trade partner.

Talks in London with the Libyan foreign minister marked the highest-level contact between the two countries in more than 20 years.

Britain said the visit of Abdel-Rahman Shalqam could be followed by a face-to-face meeting between Blair and Qaddafi. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said "very useful discussions" were "tangible proof of the improving relations between Libya and the United Kingdom."

Shalqam described the visit as "a real breakthrough in our bilateral relations." 

Straw added that Libya's December announcement had been "a courageous step" that "opened the way to Libya's reintegration into the international community."

Shalqam repeated Libya's insistence that the country's decision to disarm was not prompted by international pressure, and said Libya never followed through with producing nuclear, biological or chemical arms.

"We had the equipment. We had the material, and the know-how and the scientists. We never decided to produce these weapons," he said. "To have flour, water and fire does not mean you have bread."

Shalqam's visit follows three-way meetings in London on Friday involving senior officials from Britain, Libya and the United States. The U.S. Embassy said those talks were "very positive and thorough." 

Last month, a U.S. congressional delegation met with Qaddafi and toured a Libyan nuclear reactor -- a sign of improving relations after decades of animosity.

However, the United States has retained its 17-year embargo on the country and has kept Libya on the list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

The U.N. Security Council ended sanctions against Libya in September after Libya took responsibility for the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 and agreed to pay $2.7 billion to families of the victims.

On Jan. 26, Qaddafi was quoted in an Italian newspaper interview as saying U.S. and Libyan intelligence agencies may have worked together in the fight against terrorism.

Asked about anti-terrorism efforts and cooperation with the United States, Qaddafi told Rome's La Repubblica: "There are groups that are working against all of us. ... It could be that there has been cooperation between secret services, in particular regarding Libyan citizens who fought in Afghanistan."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.