A Headline I Never Thought I’d Write: Bush Calls Gaddafi to Express Gratitude

Nov 17, 2008 3:27pm

Per ABC News’ Kirit Radia, President George W. Bush today made the first known phone call between a sitting American President and Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, "a man responsible for hundreds of American deaths and who President Reagan once reviled as ‘this Mad Dog of the Middle East.’"

The purpose was to thank Gaddafi for following through with the $1.5 billion settlement deal for the 1980s-era victims of Libyan terror acts.

"The President called Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi to express his satisfaction that the claims settlement agreement was fully implemented on October 31. The two leaders discussed that this agreement should help to bring a painful chapter in the history between our two countries closer to closure," NSC spox Gordon Johndroe said in a paper statement. "While we will always mourn the loss of life as a result of past terrorist activities, the settlement agreement is an important step in repairing the relationship between Libya and the United States. Libya has taken important steps on the road to normalizing its relations with the international community, beginning with its renunciation in 2003 of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The United States will continue to work on the bilateral relationship with Libya, with the aim of establishing a dialogue that encompasses all subjects, including human rights, reform, and the fight against terrorism."

And believe it or not, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi — Muammar’s son — will meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department tomorrow, to deepen the ties between the United States and Libya.

– jpt

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