Global Policy Forum

Libya Hopeful of ''Good Results''


By Edith M. Lederer

Associated Press
March 20, 2001

Libya said it was hopeful of reaching ''good results'' after a second round of talks with the United States and Britain on what it must do to have U.N. sanctions lifted permanently. The three countries said there was greater understanding of each other's positions following the latest closed-door talks.

''Knowing each other leads to the necessary confidence between the parties, and I believe we are going in a very good direction,'' Libya's U.N. Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda said on Monday. ''We are doing well and we will meet again and we hope by the time we can reach good results.''

The Security Council imposed sanctions in 1992 to pressure Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to turn over two men for trial in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Scotland that killed 270 people. The measures included an air travel and arms embargo and a ban on the sale of some oil-related equipment.

Sanctions were suspended when the two Libyans were handed over for trial in 1999. One of them, Libyan intelligence agent, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, was convicted of murder on Jan. 31 by a special Scottish court in the Netherlands. His alleged accomplice, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.

Under Security Council resolutions, Libya must meet four remaining requirements before sanctions can be lifted accept responsibility for the bombing, pay compensation, renounce terrorism and turn over all information it has about the bombing.

''I don't think there's any thought that we are moving the goalpost,'' Britain's U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said when asked if the Libyans were concerned about possible new conditions. ''They understand we are going according to the resolution, neither more nor less. We again assure them that we're not adding anything to those resolutions.''

Acting U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said the meeting focused on how to implement the remaining requirements. On the compensation issue, he said, the discussion was aimed at clarifying everyone's position. ''We didn't really make any progress, nor did we expect to,'' he said. At the moment, he said, the United States and Britain don't have any additional information they want from Libya about the bombing, but ''we want their continued cooperation in the future should that prove necessary.''

Greenstock said he expects the talks to go on for some time. Cunningham said another meeting was likely sometime within a month.

Following the conviction of al-Megrahi, the Arab League, the Organization of African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement of mostly developing nations pressured the Security Council to permanently erase the sanctions. But the 15-member council, where the United States and Britain, wield vetoes, took no action and diplomats say none is expected as long as the three-party talks progress toward a consensus agreement.

More Information on Sanctions Against Libya
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