The United States is ready to consider sales of military equipment to Libya, a country that only a few years ago was shunned by the U.S. for its ties to terrorism, Reuters reported Friday.
The equipment could include transport aircraft and systems for coastal and border security in areas of mutual interest, Reuters reported, quoting U.S. Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Elizabeth Hibner.
Current U.S. policy forbids the sale of anything other than “non-lethal” defense equipment and services.
The two countries sealed a historic diplomatic turnaround last year — after decades of allegations and insults — when then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a landmark visit to Libya’s mercurial leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi in Tripoli.
“We talked about moving forward,” Rice said at the time. “The United States, I’ve said many times, doesn’t have any permanent enemies.”
President Reagan once called Qaddafi the “mad dog of the Middle East,” but now the United States has softened toward him because of the Libya’s surprise decision in 2003 to renounce terrorism and give up weapons of mass destruction.
His government also has agreed to resolve legal claims from the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other alleged terror attacks that bore Libyan fingerprints.
“Libya has changed, America has changed, the world has changed,” Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam said following a meeting with Rice. “Forget the past.”