USIS Washington 

26 August 1998


(Wants to study documents before handing over suspects) (550)

By Judy Aita

USIA United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- Libya told the Security Council August 26 that it
needs time to study the proposal by the United States and Great
Britain to try the Pan Am flight 103 bombing suspects in the

In a letter to the Security Council, Libya's Charge d'affaires to the
UN Ramadan Barg asked that the Council postpone any action on a
resolution now being considered "until Libya's judicial authorities
have completed their study of the ... documents and until the
Secretary General of the United Nations has played the role entrusted
to him in order to arrive at practical solutions that can be applied
by the different parties thereby ensuring that the two suspects appear
in court in a neutral third country as soon as possible."

US and British diplomats have been discussing the details of a draft
resolution that would suspend sanctions against Libya when the two
bombing suspects are in Dutch custody. They expected Council action by
August 28.

Barg said that Libya had received the letter containing the proposal
from the United States and the United Kingdom, the agreement between
the Netherlands and the United Kingdom concerning Scottish legal
proceedings in the Netherlands, and an English version of the
proceedings of the Netherlands court.

Saying "Libya is anxious to arrive at a settlement of this dispute,"
the Charge pointed out that "Libya's judicial authorities need to have
sufficient time to study those documents and to request assistance of
international experts more familiar with the laws of the states
mentioned in the documents."

"We are absolutely convinced that the Secretary General ... must be
given sufficient time to achieve what the Security Council has asked
of him so that any issue or difficulty that might delay the desired
settlement can be resolved," he wrote.

Barge said that Libya "seriously wishes to arrive at a solution and to
resolve any complication that might arise."

US Ambassador Peter Burleigh told journalists after a closed-door
Council meeting August 25 that the proposed resolution would "suspend
sanctions on the receipt of a report from the Secretary General that
the two accused have been handed over to Dutch authorities in the

Burleigh stressed that "the proposal that the British and American
governments are making is directly in line with the proposals that
have been made by the Arab League, the Organization of African Unity,
the non-aligned movement and specifically Libya."

Referring to a letter from Libya's Foreign Minister to the President
of the Security Council on January 2, 1998, Burleigh said that the
Libyan official said that his government would "agree to a trial under
Scottish law, with Scottish judges in a third country."

In April 1992 the Council imposed mandatory sanctions cutting air
links to Libya because of Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi's failure to
cooperate with the United States and Britain in the extradition of two
Libyans suspected in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, destroyed
over Lockerbie, Scotland, and with France in the investigation of the
bombing of a UTA flight over Africa. In November 1993, the Council
added to the original sanctions, freezing Tripoli's assets and
embargoing equipment needed by Libya's oil industry.