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Iranian FM leaves Istanbul for Libya

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Arab Today, arab today Iranian FM leaves Istanbul for Libya

Tehran - Fna

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi left Turkey for Libya to meet the country\'s interim government officials on bilateral ties and the fate of Shiite Cleric Imam Musa Sadr. Salehi, who was in Turkey to attend an international conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul, left the country for Tripoli, where he is due to meet with the National Transitional Council (NTC) officials. On Tuesday, the newly appointed Libyan Prime Minister, Abdel Rahim al-Keib, welcomed Salehi\'s visit to his country, and called for the expansion of the bilateral relations between Tehran and Tripoli. \"We welcome the visit by any foreign official, including the Iranian foreign minister, to Libya,\" al-Keib told FNA on Tuesday, adding, \"Naturally such trips will expand the bilateral ties (between Libya and other states).\" Asked if Libya\'s relations with the US could deter Tripoli from developing ties with Iran, he said that any country has its special place and position and Libya\'s relations with the US and Europe could never prevent reinvigoration of ties with other countries. Also earlier on Tuesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian told FNA that Salehi would visit Tripoli to meet Libyan officials to discuss the case of the kidnapped Shiite Cleric, Imam Musa al-Sadr, and also exchange views over the bilateral relations between the two countries following the death of the Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. \"The head of Iran\'s diplomatic apparatus is slated to travel to Libya in the near future according to his scheduled plan,\" Amir Abdollahian told FNA on Tuesday. He underlined that the fate of Imam Musa Sadr is one of the issues to be discussed during Salehi\'s trip to Libya, and said, \"We have no document saying that Imam Musa Sadr has definitely been martyred and based on our information, Imam Musa Sadr is in Libya and his fate in that country should be clarified.\" Amir Abdollahian also reiterated that the Iranian top diplomat is scheduled to meet with the officials of the National Transitional Council of Libya and announce that Tehran supports and is ready to assist with reconstruction efforts in the North African country. While Sadr\'s family said that he was still alive and remained a prisoner in Libya, Qaddafi\'s former associate Abdel-Monem Houni claimed in February that Sadr had been killed and buried shortly after he was kidnapped. Al-Sadr an Iranian-born Lebanese philosopher spent many years of his life in Lebanon as a religious and political leader, before he went missing during a trip to Libya at the invitation of Muammar al-Qaddafi. In August 1978, al-Sadr departed for Libya with two companions to meet officials of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi\'s government. They were never heard from again, and many believe they met with foul play at the hands of Qaddafi. The Qaddafi-ruled Libya consistently denied responsibility, claiming that al-Sadr and his companions left Libya for Italy in 1978. However, others claimed that al-Sadr was still alive and being kept in a secret jail in Libya. Rome has persistently said that Sadr never arrived in Italy on the alleged flight.       

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