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U.S. rewards Libya with high tech assistance

October 15, 2007 • Top Stories

WASHINGTON — Libya and the United States have been forging space and satellite cooperation.
Officials said scientists from both nations have been advancing in a range of cooperation programs meant to enhance the technical capabilities of the North African state.

They said the areas of cooperation include seismic monitoring, satellites, solar power and science education.

“Their [Libyan] efforts to build goodwill, demonstrate its commitment to join the international community, and join in the fight against terrorism encouraged the United States to collaborate with Tripoli on science and technology matters,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky said on Sept. 20.
Officials said Tripoli and Washington have been negotiating a science and technology framework cooperation agreement. They said the accord could pave the way for Libyan purchases of U.S.-origin dual-use systems.

“I am happy that [U.S.-Libyan] relations have moved, maybe not very fast, but steadily,” Ali Suleiman Aujali, charge d’affairs at the Libyan embassy in Washington, told a reception. “Technical cooperation is very important.”

In 2006, Libya and the United States launched space cooperation. The National Aeronautics Space Administration, or NASA, sent a delegation to Tripoli to discuss space science and astronomy.

“Libya is a small country,” Aujali said. “Infrastructure is important; education is important; communication is important. American people, American companies, American media also — they can play a very important role.”

Michael Foose, a regional specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey, said Libya could receive U.S. assistance in satellite remote-sensing for civilian applications. Foose, who covers Africa and the Middle East, cited “remote sensing as applied to monitoring land use and land change.”

“We have the capacity to work with them to develop tools to monitor their coastal environment,” Foose said.

Officials said the Libyan Center for Remote Sensing and Space Science and the U.S. Geological Survey plan to upgrade a Libyan seismic station. The Libyan station would be included in the U.S. Global Seismographic Network, or GSN.

“The GSN would benefit from having a station in Northern Africa,” William Leith, who works with GSN, said. “And Libya is almost perfectly situated in terms of its geographic location to improve the network’s coverage.”

World Tribune

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