The United States has pledged to maintain sanctions on
Libya in wake of its $2.7 billion compensation package for the families of
victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
The Bush administration said the United States would not block the
lifting of United Nations sanctions on Tripoli as part of the resolution of
the Lockerbie episode. On Friday, Libya formally accepted responsibility for
the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.
But a White House statement said U.S. sanctions on Libya would remain
until the regime of Moammar Khaddafy responds to Washington's concerns on
Tripoli's missile and weapons of mass destruction programs. The statement
also said Libya must take additional steps against terrorism, Middle East Newsline reported.
"The Libyan regime's behavior Ñ including its poor human rights record
and lack of democratic institutions, its destructive role in perpetuating
regional conflicts in Africa, and its continued and worrisome pursuit of
weapons of mass destruction and their related delivery systems Ñ remains a
cause for serious concern," the White House said. "The United States will
intensify its efforts to end threatening elements of Libya's behavior, and
U.S. bilateral sanctions on Libya will remain in full force until Libya
addresses these concerns. Libya must also continue to take definitive action
to assist in the fight against international terrorism."
Under the terms of the compensation package, Libya would pay only half
of the $2.7 billion should the United States fail to lift its sanctions. The
package, meant to grant $10 million to the family of each victim,
calls for Washington to lift all sanctions within eight months of the
deposit of the compensation fee to a Swiss escrow account.
Officials said Libya continues to be a source of concern for the United
States. They said Tripoli continues development of medium-range missiles
as well as biological and chemical weapons. In addition, Tripoli has
supported anti-U.S. regimes in Africa Ñ such as the Central African
Republic, Liberia and Zimbabwe Ñ with weapons and money.
Earlier, Libya issued a letter to the UN Security Council that
acknowledged responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. But the letter,
which pledged cooperation against what it termed terrorism, did not specify
any responsibility by Khaddafy or his regime.
"Libya as a sovereign state accepts responsibilities for the actions of
its officials," Libyan envoy to the UN Ahmed Own said in the letter.