A panel has urged the Bush administration to change U.S.
policy toward Libya following its $2.7 billion compensation package for the
families of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
A report by a panel of experts, former U.S. State Department
officials and oil executives said Libya has ended its policy of
sponsoring terrorism. The group urged the administration to renew
efforts to establish diplomatic relations with Tripoli, Middle East Newsline reported.
"By all indications, Libya has changed its policy on terrorism," the
report, "U.S.-Libyan Relations: Toward Cautious Reengagement," and sponsored
by the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said. "The new strategy should be
designed to advance several other important U.S. interests simultaneously.
These include promoting energy security through diversity of supply,
containing Libyan regional ambitions that run counter to U.S. interests
while encouraging Libya to play a constructive role in regional conflicts,
developing economic relations, fostering human rights, encouraging political
reform in Libya and successfully graduating Libya out of the 'rogue state'
Last week, Libya signed an agreement to compensate the families of the
270 victims of the explosion of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland in
1988. Libya has also agreed to take responsibility for the attack.
The panel said U.S. policy toward Libya has become "outdated and
inappropriate." The experts urged the administration to test Libya's
willingness to abandon terrorism. The council provides
recommendations on U.S. foreign policy issues.
But the Atlantic Council did not call on the State Department to remove
Libya from the list of terrorist sponsors, a condition stipulated in the
Libyan compensation accord. On Monday, the Bush administration said it would
not lift U.S. sanctions until Tripoli responds to Washington's concerns
regarding Libya's missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.
"United States sanctions will remain in place because we still have a
number of serious concerns when it comes to Libya, most notably, their
continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their continued
participation in regional conflicts in Africa that have been very
destructive and unhelpful," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
"Libya continues to have a poor human rights record. So there are a number
of concerns we still have."
The report said U.S. sanctions on Libya have prevented American
companies from being awarded contracts to explore and develop the energy
resources of the North African country. The council urged Washington to
resume trade with Tripoli so U.S. energy companies can compete for major
contracts in Libya.
But the report acknowledges that Libya has increased efforts to acquire
WMD since the suspension of United Nations sanctions in 1999. The council
recommends that the administration press Tripoli to ratify the Chemical
Weapons Convention and open suspected WMD sites for international
"The principal objective for a new strategy should be countering
international terrorism," the report said. "Another priority U.S. objective
should be preventing Libya from obtaining weapons of mass destruction and
The council also recommended that Libya agree to the enhanced safeguards
set by the International Atomic Energy Agency, pledge to follow the
guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and abide by the standards of the
Technology Control Regime.
The United States should launch a security dialogue with Libya that
addresses the WMD issue, the report said. In addition, the United States
must seek the cooperation of the international community to deny WMD and
missile expertise and technology to Tripoli and ban testing of prohibited
weapons or missiles.
"It also needs to deter Libyan efforts to acquire proscribed
technology," the report said. "This could include working with other UN
Security Council members to establish a series of red lines that, if crossed
by Libya, would trigger comprehensive sanctions or direct intervention."