A high-ranking Libyan Foreign Ministry official contacted the Belgian ambassador in Tripoli during the night of the American raid on Libya to transmit a request to the United States for an "end to hostilities," a Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman said today.
The request was forwarded immediately by the ambassador to the Belgian Foreign Ministry, which relayed the request to the Belgian Embassy in Washington where it was delivered to the State Department, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Frans van Daele.
Belgium, which represents U.S. interests in Libya, later heard through diplomatic channels that Libyan officials denied the request had been made, van Daele said.
Van Daele declined to identify the Libyan official who contacted Roland Burny, the Belgian ambassador to Tripoli. Burny was telephoned by the official at home, but it was unclear whether the call came during the U.S. raids or afterward, van Daele said.
Van Daele said that Burny had reported no further contacts by the Libyan government. Burny also said he did not believe that about 80 Belgian workers in Libya were endangered by their country's role in representing U.S. interests.
A diplomatic source in Brussels said that Burny and other senior diplomats in Tripoli were summoned today by the Libyan vice minister for foreign affairs. The minister made what the source characterized as a "moderate statement" to the diplomats but no details were available.
Belgian Foreign Minister Leo Tindemans said in Brussels that he understood American indignation about terrorist attacks, but he regretted the U.S. decision to use force against Libya.