The US announced on Friday it may soon allow US citizens to visit Libya using American passports and to spend money there, lifting some of the many US economic sanctions on Tripoli to reflect its newfound openness with the West. 

A statement issued by the US embassy in London also said Libya and the United States discussed on Friday the possibility of establishing a small diplomatic presence in each other's capitals - which would be another major step towards easing the countries' long-strained relationship.

US, Libyan and British officials met in London on Friday to take stock of Libya's 19 December announcement that it had decided to give up weapons of mass destruction and what US officials describe as its "excellent" cooperation with US and British arms experts who are dismantling such arms programmes.

Better relations

"Progress on these crucial matters has opened the door to better relations with the United States," the US embassy statement said, saying the two sides discussed ways in which they can increase contacts.

"This includes the possibility in the near term, assuming continued Libyan progress on its commitments, of measures such as removal of the restriction on use of U.S. passports for travel to Libya, and authorization for American citizens to engage in transactions related to such travel," it added.