The Security Council this afternoon said the announcement by Libyan Arab Airways that it would resume international flights out of Libya immediately was incompatible with Council resolution 748 (1992), which prohibits all international flights to and from that country.
Through a statement read out by its President, Hisashi Owada (Japan), the Council took note of reports that a Libyan-registered aircraft flew from Tripoli to Accra on 21 January, in apparent violation of resolution 748. The Committee established under that text had been asked to follow up on the matter.
The Council also drew the attention of Member States to their obligations under resolution 748 in the event that Libyan-registered aircraft seek to land in their territory.
Text of Presidential Statement
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1997/2, reads as follows:
"The Security Council notes with concern the letter of 17 January 1997 from the Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya addressed to the President of the Security Council, announcing that Libyan Arab Airways would resume international flights out of Libya immediately (S/1997/52). The Council considers the position expressed in the letter of 17 January 1997 to be incompatible with Security Council resolution 748 (1992). Resolution 748 (1992) does not prohibit overflights of Libyan territory. Paragraph 4 (a) of the resolution does, however, prohibit all international flights to and from Libya. The Security Council would consider any such flights to be a violation of the terms of resolution 748 (1992).
"The Security Council takes note of the reports that a Libyan-registered aircraft, in apparent violation of resolution 748 (1992), flew from Tripoli,
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6317 3724th Meeting (PM) 29 January 1997
Libya, to Accra, Ghana, on 21 January 1997, where it landed and later departed. The Council has requested the Committee established pursuant to resolution 748 (1992) to follow up this matter. The Council draws the attention of Member States to their obligations under resolution 748 (1992) in the event that Libyan-registered aircraft seek to land in their territory."
The meeting, which was called to order at 3:38 p.m., was adjourned at 3:43 p.m.
Letter by Libya
The Council had before it a letter to its President from Omar Mustafa Muntasser, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Libya, transmitting a 17 January letter from the Secretary of the People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya (document S/1997/52).
According to that letter, "Mr. Steve Fossett, who is flying around the world in a balloon, has asked to be allowed to pass through Libyan airspace". Libya had been reproached by an official spokesman for the United States Department of State for preventing his passage through Libyan airspace. The letter adds: "It is incomprehensible that an official spokesman for the United States Department of State should censure the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya when all the world knows that his country is behind the aerial embargo on the Jamahiriya."
He then informs the Council that "as long as the United States censures the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for having prevented the balloon from passing through its airspace because of the aerial embargo imposed on it", his country would allow Mr. Fossett's passage through Libyan airspace, effective immediately. Libya would also approve passage for all aircraft through its airspace, as well as the landing of all aircraft at its airports. In addition, "Libyan Arab Airways will also immediately resume its flights to all of the world's countries."
* *** *