Croatian president says he plans to visit Libya
ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatia's president said Monday that he has accepted an invitation from Moammar Gadhafi to visit Libya sometime in the near future.
Stipe Mesic said the invitation was extended during a brief meeting Sunday with Gadhafi's son, Seif el-Islam, was was in Croatia on a private visit.
A date for the visit has not been set yet, Mesic told Croatia's state-run radio.
Mesic said that "good relations" with Libya — the first non-European nation to recognize Croatia as an independent state in early 1992 — should lead to greater economic cooperation.
Mesic refused to comment on the U.S. government's decision to keep Libya on a list of countries it says supports terrorism, stressing that Croatia must act in its own economic interest.
"Croatia's economic interest is to find markets for its goods," he said, adding that doing business with Libya would create thousands of jobs for Croatians.
Mesic, apparently suggesting that Libya is no longer an enemy of the West, emphasized that Gadafi eventually allowed two of its citizens to be tried for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight that killed 270 people.
Mesic also said that a recent decision to cancel a dlrs 12 million deal with Iran — also on Washington's list of countries supporting terror — at the request of the United States would have no bearing on future deals with Libya."These are not identical cases," Mesic said.
Mesic's connection to Libya apparently dates back to the 1980s, when he headed an architectural firm that built there. Several construction companies from the former Yugoslavia, which Croatia belonged to until 1991, did business in Libya.