Global Policy Forum

Delay Expected on Measures

December 29, 2000

Developing nations on the UN Security Council have introduced a resolution to lift sanctions against Libya, saying Tripoli had cooperated fully with the trial of two men accused of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. But Namibian ambassador Martin Andjaba, who represented Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members on the council, said he did not expect to put the measure to a vote on Friday as originally intended. Namibia leaves the 15-nation council body next week, which rotates five members each year.

Both Britain and the United States made clear they would oppose the resolution until the trial of Libyan suspects had ended. All 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 were killed, as well as 11 people on the ground.

The sanctions were suspended in April 1999 after the two accused were extradited to face a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. In practice, they sanctions have no validity as they cannot be reimposed without another vote by the council. An air and arms embargo and a ban on some oil equipment, were imposed in 1992 and 1993 to force Libya to hand over for trial the two suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, who had been indicted by the United States and Britain.

The prosecution rested its case on Nov. 20 after calling 230 witnesses during 72 days of hearings. Defense proceedings are expected to take at least another two months.

Since the surrender of the two men, Libya, backed by Arab nations, has insisted it kept its side of the bargain and had not only handed over the accused, but complied with other council demands such as cooperating with the trial. "The requirement to cooperate with the trial lasts all the way through the trial because there may be other witnesses and other actions to be taken that need Libyan cooperation," British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock said.

He said the delay in lifting sanctions completely until the trial was over was an understanding reached by all sides. "The NAM caucus have clearly wanted to set that understanding aside and we are not quite sure why that should be so. We have made it very clear that we would not be able to support such a resolution," Greenstock said on Thursday.

Separately, the United States has kept its own travel ban in place against Libyan passport holders.

Namibia was supported by NAM members Jamaica, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Mali and Tunisia.

More Information on Sanctions Against Libya
More Information on Sanctions


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