09/09/2003
Press Release
SC/7866



Security Council

4820th Meeting (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL POSTPONES ACTION ON LIFTING LIBYA SANCTIONS UNTIL 12 SEPTEMBER


Following extended consultations, the Security Council this afternoon unanimously decided to postpone until 12 September action on lifting the sanctions imposed on Libya for its failure to cooperate with investigations into the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and France’s Union de transports aériens (UTA) flight 772 over Niger in 1989.


Speaking before that decision was taken, the Council President, Emyr Jones Parry (United Kingdom), said that the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 had been an appalling act, which caused terrible pain to the friends and families of the victims, many of whom were present in the Council chamber today.


The Council was now moving towards resolution of that terrible affair, he continued.  Libya had accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials, renounced terrorism and arranged for payment of appropriate compensation for the families of the victims.  It had also expressed its commitment to cooperate with any further requests for information in connection with the investigation.  All those were substantial gains, which could allow Libya to move back into the international community and bring the Council closer to lifting the sanctions.


At the same time, the Council was also conscious of the fact that it needed to act unanimously and that there were other legitimate concerns related to Libya that still needed to be resolved, he added.  In lengthy informal consultations today, the Council members had concluded that the most appropriate course of action would be to propose adjournment of the meeting until 10:30 a.m. Friday, 12 September, on the expectation that the agenda adopted today would remain before the Council then.


In 1991, France had requested Libya to produce material evidence in the judicial inquiry following a September 1989 attack on the UTA DC-10, which resulted in 171 deaths; to facilitate necessary contacts for the assembly of witnesses; and to authorize Libyan officials to respond to any requests by the examining magistrate (document S/23306).


Regarding the Lockerbie investigation, the United Kingdom (S/23307) and United States (S/23308), requested that Libya surrender for trial all those charged with the destruction of the Pan Am flight on 21 December 1988, resulting in 270 deaths.  They further requested that Libya accept responsibility for the actions of its officials; disclose all it knows of the crime; and pay appropriate compensation.  Those requests were included in resolution 731 (1992).


The sanctions were spelled out in resolution 748, adopted on 31 March 1992, and resolution 883, adopted on 11 November 1993, and included travel restrictions, an arms embargo, and financial sanctions excluding financial resources derived from the sale of petroleum products and agricultural products.


By its resolution 1192 0f 27 August 1998, the Council suspended sanctions when Libya made two suspects in the Lockerbie case available to a Scottish court sitting in The Hague, Netherlands.  One of the accused was convicted.


The meeting was called to order at 2:35 p.m. and adjourned at 2:40 p.m.


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