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gaddafi may formally take responsibility for locke

  1. Mar. 9, 2003
    Gaddafi may formally take responsibility for Lockerbie
    By DOUGLAS DAVIS

    LONDON Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is reported to be on the brink of formally accepting responsibility for the 1988 explosion of a Pan Am passenger airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all 270 people aboard.

    According to reports here at the weekend, US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs William Burns will meet senior British and Libyan officials in London on Tuesday. A formal announcement is expected soon afterward.

    The Sunday Times quoted sources close to the talks as saying the officials "may be close to finalizing a deal in which... Gaddafi finally admits responsibility for Lockerbie." In return, the UN Security Council is expected to permanently lift sanctions, currently suspended, against Libya.

    The Security Council has demanded that Libya must not only accept responsibility for the bombing, but also pay "appropriate compensation" to the families of the victims, renounce terrorism, and agree to comply with any future inquiry.

    Sanctions were suspended after Gaddafi delivered two senior Libyan intelligence officials for trial by a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted of complicity in the bombing and is now serving a life sentence at a high security jail in Glasgow.

    Gaddafi has always denied that Libya was implicated in the downing of Pan Am flight 103, but Scottish investigators uncovered evidence which revealed that the attack had been approved by the head of Libya's intelligence service.

    The Libyans are said to have bombed the airliner in retaliation for the 1986 bombing of Tripoli, ordered by US president Ronald Reagan, following an attack on a Berlin disco which claimed the lives of US military personnel.

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