Throughout the 1980’s tension between the U.S. and Libya was at its apex culminating in the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986. Relations were naturally strained for years after, until in August 1997, the U.S House of Representatives member Earl Hilliard agreed to travel to Libya for high-level talks.
The principal aim of this controversial trip was to encourage dialogue and an eventual rapprochement not only between the U.S. and Libya, but also among the West, the Middle East and North Africa.
Although many in Washington D.C. were highly suspicious and even alarmed at the mission, as it was considered a politically divisive move by breaking the unanimous solidarity between Congress and the House of Representatives; Mr. Hilliard pushed forward with his agenda and accepted the patronage and support of Kamel Ghribi, whose sponsorship made the trip possible.
The Hilliard mission can be considered one of Kamel Ghribi’s biggest success stories as it paved the way for the abolition of sanctions in Libya and opened up a neutral and impartial channel for dialogue between historically hostile nations.