What does Tripoli have to do to be taken off Washington's list of states that sponsor terrorism? This is the question vexing Libyan officials, who, two years after leader Muammar Qaddafi committed to dismantling the country's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme, are frustrated at the US' failure to remove the final obstacle to normalising relations with the rest of the world.
In late 2003, after 10 years of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Tripoli finally accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, renounced terrorism and agreed to pay $2,700 million in compensation to the families of the victims. In return, the Western powers committed to help rehabilitate Libya within the international community
Yet, even though US businessmen and politicians are becoming regular sights in Tripoli, the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya remains a pariah state. "We have got a peculiar situation where the administration in Washington seems to be making every effort to normalise relations with Tripoli, yet Libya is still on the list," says Oliver Miles, vice chairman of the Libyan British Business Council and chairman of the UK's Middle East Consultants.
One of the reasons …