26 August 1998
(Libya) (400) US, UK PRESSING AHEAD WITH LIBYA RESOLUTION British and US diplomats are continuing negotiations with other Security Council members and expect the council to adopt a resolution on Libya quickly, a British ambassador said August 26. Ambassador Stephen Gomersall, the United Kingdom (UK) representative to the Security Council, said that the United States and UK have been "gratified by the responses from around the world" to their proposal to try the two Libyans suspected of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in the Netherlands under Scottish law and by Scottish judges. The airliner exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. The two delegations have been discussing the details of a council resolution that would suspend sanctions against Libya when the two bombing suspects are in Dutch custody. Gomersall said that the discussions have been "very positive." "We feel we are making progress toward the speedy adoption of this resolution," Gomersall said. "We're optimistic we will be able to put a text to the vote fairly soon." "We hope very much that this will facilitate the acceptance of the proposal by the Government of Libya and the eventual resolution of the dispute," the ambassador said. Libya has asked the council to postpone action on the resolution until it has had time to study the US/UK proposal and the accompanying documents and get advice from international legal experts. Council President Danilo Turk said he expects the council to vote August 27. "There is no decision to delay," Turk said. He noted that Libya's concerns did not involve the Council but concerned details to be worked out with the Secretary General or the Netherlands. Gomersall noted that "the Libyan Government obviously has the right to study the text. The Libyan Government also has had access to legal expertise on the Scottish system for a long time and we believe that fundamentally it is a political decision for the Libyan Government to make." "There is no time limit on the acceptance (of the proposal) by Libya," Gomersall said. "We have said we expect Libya to respond quickly and without equivocation to the offer." The UK would like the Security Council to act on the resolution before the annual Non-aligned summit, the Ambassador said. "It should help clarify the Council's position on the issue...We thought it would be helpful also to getting the right result."