USIS Washington 

26 August 1998


(Libya) (400)


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

"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."