France may block lifting of Libya sanctions

French lawyers are demanding a better compensation deal for the 1989 bombing of a French airliner before any possible lifting of UN sanctions against Libya.

    The French want a compensation for the bombing of its airliner similar to the Lockerbie deal

    The call comes as UN diplomats said Libyan sanctions may be lifted as Tripoli looks set to accept responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland and agreeing to pay a substantial compensation demand.

    Francoise Rudetzki, president of the association SOS-Attentats, told journalists: "If there is a vote in the Security Council to lift the sanctions, we ask that France use its veto as long as we have not obtained full satisfaction."

    Libya has never officially accepted blame for the UTA attack, but nonetheless paid France around $30 million in compensation. A Paris court sentenced the six Libyans found guilty to life imprisonment.

    "If there is a vote in the Security Council to lift the sanctions, we ask that France use its veto."

    Francoise Rudetzki
    President of the association SOS-Attentats

    But Libya's imminent acceptance of responsibility for Lockerbie is likely to precede the signing of an enormous $2.7 billion settlement with the families of the victims, according to lawyers negotiating the deal.

    Sanctions agreement

    Sanctions, which were imposed on Tripoli after the midair Lockerbie bombing that killed all 259 people on aboard and 11 on the ground, were suspended in 1999 after Libya turned over two Libyan suspects for trial and may be lifted soon following the compensation agreement.
       
    But the French group representing families of the 170 victims of the UTA airlines attack, for which a Paris court found six Libyans guilty in absentia, urged France to veto any UN vote to end the sanctions against Tripoli.

    Paris is still in talks over its demands for increased compensation for the UTA bombing, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman told a briefing.
       
    He referred to an 7 August statement in which the ministry said: "We expect substantial progress on this point before any lifting of sanctions."

    US compensation deal

    Libya is expected to send a letter this week to the UN Security Council accepting responsibility for downing the Pan Am 747, according to US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
      
    "Watch this space," Powell said at a brief, impromptu meeting in a State Department corridor.

    The agreement, which calls for Libya to open an escrow account at the Swiss-based Bank of International Settlements to hold the money, is expected to be concluded by Thursday, the lawyers said.
      
    As the deal is envisaged, Libya would pay each of the families $10 million in installments based on the lifting of the sanctions and the removal of Libya from the US list of "state sponsors of terrorism".
      
    The first $4 million in compensation would be disbursed to the victims' families when UN sanctions against Libya are lifted following its acceptance of responsibility.
         
    A further $4 million would be delivered to each family once US sanctions are lifted and the final $2 million payment would be made if Libya is removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.