9 July 1999


9 July 1999

Press Release


19990709 Presidential Statement Reaffirms Intention to Life Measures Imposed by Resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) as Soon as Possible

The Security Council this afternoon, welcoming the significant progress made by Libya in compliance with the relevant Council resolutions, reaffirmed its intention to lift as soon as possible the wide range of aerial, arms and diplomatic measures it imposed on that country in 1992 and 1993.

Recalling that the measures set forth in resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) have been suspended as of 5 April, the Council, through a statement read out by its President, Hasmy Agam (Malaysia), also welcomed the positive developments identified in the Secretary-General's report of 30 June, as well as Libya's commitment to further implement those resolutions by continuing cooperation to meet all their requirements.

Further, the Council encouraged all parties concerned to maintain their spirit of cooperation and expressed its gratitude to the Secretary-General for his continued efforts, requesting him to follow developments on the matter and to report to it accordingly.

The meeting which began at 4:52 p.m. was adjourned at 4:56 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1999/22, reads as follows:

"The Security Council recalls its resolutions 731 (1992) of 21 January 1992, 748 (1992) of 31 March 1992, 883 (1993) of 11 November 1993 and 1192 (1998) of 27 August 1998 and the statement of its President of 8 April 1999 (S/PRST/1999/10).

"The Security Council welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 30 June 1999 (S/1999/726) in fulfilment of the request contained in paragraph 16 of resolution 883 (1993),

"The Security Council welcomes the positive developments identified in the report and the fact that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has made significant progress in compliance with the relevant resolutions. It welcomes also the commitment given by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to implement further the relevant resolutions by continuing cooperation in order to meet all the requirements contained therein. It encourages all parties concerned to maintain their spirit of cooperation. The Council recalls that the measures set forth in resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) have been suspended and reaffirms its intention to lift those measures as soon as possible, in conformity with the relevant resolutions.

"The Security Council expresses its gratitude to the Secretary-General for his continued efforts in his role as set out in paragraph 4 of resolutions 731 (1992) and paragraph 6 of resolution 1192 (1998) and requests him to follow developments regarding this matter closely and to report to the Council accordingly.

"The Security Council remains actively seized of the matter."

Report of Secretary-General

When the Security Council met, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1999/726) submitted in response to paragraph 16 of Council resolution 883 (1993) and paragraph 8 of resolution 1192 (1998).

By resolution 1192 (1998), adopted on 27 August, the Council decided that measures it had imposed on Libya by its previous resolutions -- 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) -- should be suspended immediately if the Secretary-General reported that the two Libyan nationals accused of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 had arrived in the Netherlands for trial before a Scottish court and that the Libyan Government had satisfied the French judicial authorities with regard to the bombing of UTA flight 772. (In the bombing of flight 103, 270 people were killed, 189 of them Americans. The French-owned UTA plane exploded over the Niger in 1989, killing 170 people).

The Secretary-General's report refers to a joint declaration by the United Kingdom and the United States (A/46/827-S/23308) relating to actions which could only be undertaken by Libya during and following the conclusion of the trial of the two Libyans. It states that under the circumstances Libya might only be expected to provide assurances of its commitment to comply with those requirements, particularly as it regards access to witnesses, relevant documents and other material evidence. The report notes that paragraph 2 of resolution 1192 (1998) provides that all States cooperate towards that end and that, in particular, the Libyan Government shall ensure that any evidence or witness in Libya would be, upon the request of the court, promptly made available.

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For that reason, the Secretary-General states that he was "not in a position to provide any factual information on compliance by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with the relevant requirements". He points out, however, that the Libyan authorities had, indeed, provided assurances that they would cooperate with the Scottish court. The assurances had been given to the United Nations Legal Counsel, Hans Corell, by the head of the Libyan legal team, Kamel Hassan Maghur, during their discussions in October and November 1998.

The Secretary-General also reports that, with respect to the investigation of the bombing of UTA flight 772, he had been informed by the French authorities that the requests they had made, on the whole, had been satisfied (document A/46/825-S/23306). (Those involved in the UTA bombing were tried in absentia by a French court.) The Secretary-General says he had also been informed that the French authorities expected Libya to abide by the obligations that follow from the judgement handed down by the French court, all in accordance with the undertakings of the Libyan Government.

He recalls that the Government of the United Kingdom had, in a statement issued on 20 November 1995 (document S/1995/973), confirmed that it had received the Libyan Government's answers to a fifth set of questions about its links with the Provisional Irish Republican Army. It had been noted in the statement, the Secretary-General goes on to say, that there remained gaps and omissions in the information given by the Libyan Government. However, considering the Libyan disclosures in their entirety, the British authorities were satisfied with them. "The British Government acknowledged that the Libyan readiness to answer its questions was a positive step towards the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular towards the renunciation of terrorism, a path, it was hoped, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya will continue to follow", the Secretary-General writes.

He notes that the United States Government had stated that Libya had not, however, taken similar steps with regard to its support for other terrorist organizations. With respect to the requirements of resolution 748 (1992), the Secretary-General observes that he had also been informed by the Government of France that it considered recent acts by the Libyan authorities to be indicative of the Libyan Government's renunciation of terrorism.

On the payment of compensation, the Secretary-General's report points out that it would be contrary to the purpose of resolution 1192 (1998) to anticipate that Libya should be expected to accept responsibility and pay compensation now to the families of the Pan Am flight 103 victims before the trial was completed. At the same time, he observes that Libya had publicly stated on several occasions that it would comply with the conclusions of the Scottish court, whatever they might be, and, if required, would pay the necessary compensation.

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The Secretary-General reports that on 11 June 1999, he hosted a tripartite meeting between the Permanent Representatives of Libya, the United Kingdom and the United States to assist them in clarifying the positions of their Governments on the requirements of the Security Council resolutions for the lifting of measures imposed by it on Libya. The participants had exchanged views and ideas and had agreed that there was need for a follow-up meeting. The Secretary-General hopes that further contacts would help to develop a constructive dialogue between the parties concerned, leading eventually to the normalization of relations among them.

Responding to the Secretary-General's report, in a 6 July letter (document S/1999/752), the Permanent Representative of Libya states that the report demonstrates beyond doubt that the international community is convinced that Libya had complied with all the obligations stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions, and that sanctions against it should be lifted immediately.

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For information media. Not an official record.