Educated at Benghazi, he completed his university studies in France and Egypt.
On his return from Cairo he joined tbe Diplomatic Service. After making the mark as a conscientious desk officer at the Foreign Ministry he was sent to Algeria where he was charge from 1963 to 1964. His service took him to Paris and Geneva in consular work. Then he was promoted to be deputy head of the Libyan delegation to the UN at New York, where he was active in the Arab lobby on Middle East questions following the June War of 1967.
After more than two years in New York he returned home as Under-Secretary at the Foreign Ministry. When the revolutionary leaders took over in September 1969 he was vetted and then established in his post. Later he returned to the UN as head of Libya’s delegation. A man of intense convictions, he showed himself one of the most forceful Arab ambassadors at the UN. In July 1972 he was recalled to go straight into the cabinet as Foreign Minister.
The similarity between Reda Helal and Kikhia cases has raised widespread suspicion about the involvement of high-ranking Egyptian officials. Kikhia's lawyer does not rule out Libyan and American involvement in his disappearance. The recent arrest in London of a highly respected Egyptian engineer, Professor Momdouh Hamza, has implicated four top Egyptian officials with close ties to the Mubarak family and re-opened the rumor mill in Cairo. For years Egyptians have heard of forced disappearance of public figures elsewhere in the region (e.g. Iraq, Syria and Libya) but not their own.