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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > May
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 15, 2006


Upgrading of Diplomatic Relations with Libya

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced on May 15, 2006 that the United States intends to upgrade the U.S. diplomatic presence in Tripoli, Libya from a liaison office to an embassy headed by a U.S. ambassador. The United States withdrew its last U.S. Ambassador to Libya in 1972. All remaining U.S. government personnel were withdrawn and the embassy was shut down after a mob attacked and set fire to the U.S. Embassy on December 2, 1979. Resumption of a direct diplomatic presence occurred on February 8, 2004 with the arrival of U.S. personnel at the U.S. Interests Section in Tripoli. That mission was upgraded to a Liaison Office on June 24, 2004.

On a reciprocal basis, Libya has been invited to upgrade its own liaison office in Washington, D.C. to an embassy and to appoint an Ambassador. In May 1981, the U.S. government closed the Libyan’s "People’s Bureau" (embassy) in Washington, D.C. and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a general pattern of unacceptable conduct. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of a Liaison Office on July 8, 2004.

2006/497

Released on May 15, 2006

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