Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Libya expected more from the United States when it renounced terrorism and surrendered its weapons of mass destruction three years ago, according to Libya's top diplomat in Washington.
"This is not what Libya expected. I'm very disappointed," Ali Aujali, charge d'affaires of the Libyan Embassy, told a crowded forum at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace last week.
The United States has not appointed an ambassador to Libya. The U.S. visa process continues to require Libyans to wait several months for approval, while Libya can issue visas within a week, Mr. Aujali said.
Libya is especially upset by a congressional move last week to block the further normalization of relations with the United States until the North African nation pays all compensation to the families of the 270 victims of Pan Am Flight 103, which was brought down by a Libyan bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
"We thought Lockerbie was resolved," Mr. Aujali said.
The House Appropriations Committee voted to withhold funds for the restoration of diplomatic relations until Libya pays the Pan Am Flight 103 families an additional $2 million each.
The families already have received $8 million each under a settlement between the families and the Libyan government. However, Libya withheld the rest of the funds when it was on a U.S. list of terrorist nations. The State Department removed Libya from the list last month.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on May 15 announced the restoration of relations after a 25-year break. Her announcement carried a 45-day public comment period, which ends today.
The U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli, Libya, was designated an embassy May 31, and Libya also upgraded its representative's office in Washington to full embassy status last month. Mr. Aujali remains the diplomat in charge, instead of a fully accredited ambassador, because Libya is unlikely to appoint an ambassador until Washington does.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. …