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Powell in historic meet with Libya

United States
Acts of terror

NEW YORK (CNN) -- For the first time in more than 25 years, a U.S. secretary of state has met with the Libyan foreign minister.

Colin Powell Thursday held talks with his Libyan counterpart, Abdurahman Shalgam, discussing Libya's efforts to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction programs.

U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday signed an executive order lifting the remaining U.S. commercial sanctions against Libya after determining the African nation had met U.S. requirements for disarmament.

A senior U.S. State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Powell told the Libyan foreign minister that he was pleased with the completion of this latest phase and that Tripoli has set a positive example for other nations.

At the same time, this official said Powell made clear that United States believes Libya still has a "a fair amount of work to do on the terrorist issue."

Although Libya has renounced terrorism and said it is sharing information on the war on terror, Powell made clear that Washington has "serious concerns" about Libya's suspected involvement in a plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, the official said.

This official said Libya would not be removed from the State Department's list of terrorist-sponsoring nations until the United States had adequate assurances in that regard.

"We still have concerns and questions we need to sort through," the official said, adding that Washington is committed to working with Tripoli.

Powell held multiple meetings throughout the day with various world leaders, including the presidents of Nigeria and Zambia, the foreign ministers of South Korea and Russia.

U.S. officials said the meeting with the Libyan foreign minister marked the first time in at least a quarter century -- and possibly as many as 35 years -- that a U.S. secretary of state has talked face-to-face with his Libyan counterpart.

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