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On the Opening of Canada’s Embassy in Libya

Remarks delivered by the Hon. David Kilgour, P.C., M.P.

Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Tripoli, Libya

January 17, 2002

*Check against delivery

Read the Communiqué

Distinguished Libyan guests, Mr. Ambassador.

It is both an honour and a privilege to be the first Canadian Minister ever to visit the Libyan Jamahiyiria. It is a beautiful, peaceful country – full of potential.

No one knows this more than the thousands of Canadian who currently reside here, especially those who lived through some very challenging times. It is my understanding that no one appreciated this more than Libya itself, as this community has consistently contributed to the local economy and underwritten the burgeoning relations between our two peoples.

Canada and Libya have maintained diplomatic relations since 1968. During this period, political dialogue and commercial exchanges were continuous, even during the most difficult periods. Canada’s new Embassy will allow us to expand the breadth and scope of our relationship.

Until recently, Canada has provided diplomatic representation in Libya through cross-accreditation from other embassies in the region and travelling diplomats who I am sure some of you still remember.

For the last ten years, Canada has also maintained a small office at the Dutch Embassy to facilitate consular services for the Canadian community in Libya. I want to take this occasion to thank Mrs. FATIMA ANABTAWI for providing outstanding service to Canadians in Libya through this period and before that for eight years at the Danish embassy. She bears witness to the constant Canadian interest regarding Libya.

Our Dutch colleagues - and before them, Danish colleagues - provided excellent assistance to us and we are grateful for their cooperation.

The Canadian Embassy began operations on May 1, 2001 in its own premises in the beautiful BORJ EL FATAH. Under the leadership of Ambassador Simard and the resident chargé, Mr. Jacoby, it will deliver a full range of diplomatic, commercial and consular services in support of Canadian interests in Libya.

Hopefully, the visit of my delegation, will encourage greater efforts to further the development of Canadian-Libyan relations across a broad spectrum of political, commercial and human interests. I am delighted to report that my discussions with Libyan ministers and officials have been successful and productive in addressing issues and increasing understanding between our two countries.

Please join me in celebrating the official opening of our Embassy in Libya. May it lead to long-lasting and productive relations between our two countries.

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