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Cohen also conferred with Gaddafi's brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, who last year was convicted in absentia in a French court for the 1989 midair destruction of a plane in which 171 people, including the wife of an American diplomat, were killed. The Americans never mentioned that incident. "What was the point of bringing this up?" asks the consultant who traveled with Cohen. "We wanted to establish a dialogue."
Washington is a city in which commercial opportunities often foreshadow shifts in government policy. This doesn't mean restrictions on doing business with Libya will end immediately, and certainly not before the trial concludes. And the verdict, whether guilty or innocent, will not erase the scars that terrorism inflicted over Lockerbie. But U.S. corporations were late getting back into Vietnam, and they never had a chance in Cuba. To them, Libya is looking less like a terrorist nation and more like another potential customer in the great global economy.