UN Security Council lifts sanctions on Libya, U.S. will not

Monday, September 15, 2003

The United Nations Security Council has lifted sanctions from Libya.

The Security Council has passed a resolution by a vote of 13-0 to lift sanctions from Tripoli passed in 1992. The vote was prompted by a Libyan settlement of a compensation deal for the families of 270 victims of the Pan Am airliner bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

The $2.7 billion compensation package by Libya called on the United States to lift its own sanctions against Libya. Tripoli provided an eight-month time limit for the lifting of sanctions until Libya reduces by half the compensation to the families of the Lockerbie victims, Middle East Newsline reported.

In 1999, the Security Council froze sanctions when Libya agreed to extradite two intelligence agents for trial. A Scottish tribunal convicted one of the Libyan agents and sentenced him to life in prison.

France and the United States abstained in the Security Council vote on Resolution 1506. The UN sanctions included a weapons embargo, a ban on flying to Libya and a prohibition of the sale of certain oil equipment to Libya.

"We did not want our vote on the resolution lifting sanctions to be misconstrued as a decision to modify U.S. bilateral measures regardless of future Libyan behavior," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said on Friday.

U.S. officials said Washington will not lift sanctions from Libya. They said Libya continues to be involved in terrorism, demonstrate irresponsible behavior in Africa, violate human rights and acquire weapons of mass destruction.

"The United States will intensify its efforts to end Libya's threatening actions. This includes keeping U.S. bilateral sanctions on Libya in full force," U.S. deputy representative to the UN James Cunningham said. "Libya is actively pursuing a broad range of WMD and is seeking ballistic missiles.

In those efforts, it is receiving foreign assistance -- including from countries that sponsor terrorism. Libya's continued nuclear infrastructure upgrades raise concerns. Tripoli is actively developing biological and chemical weapons."

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