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Vol 45 No 1

Published 9th January 2004

Fresh start for old faces

Elections in Algeria and Tunisia, and Libya's opening to the West, will give familiar faces a new look. The Libyan regime watched Iraq like a hawk and President Saddam Hussein's overthrow must have encouraged Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi to offer a Christmas-box to United States President George W. Bush and, especially, to British Premier Tony Blair - renunciation of his plan to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This may at last complete the long process of rapprochement with the West, underlined by the US$2.7 billion settlement of the dispute over the Lockerbie bombing and reflects an upturn in the Gadaffi family's love-hate relationship with the West. It also gratifies the US oil companies whose Libyan concessions were never quite withdrawn throughout a US boycott, which was nevertheless renewed this week.

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