EU lifts embargo on Libya

The European Union has agreed to lift an 18-year-old arms embargo on Libya, bowing to pressure from Italy which wants to ensure the country curbs illegal immigration.

    The Bulgarians are accused of infecting children with AIDS

    The EU will lift an arms embargo it imposed on Tripoli in 1986, as well as economic sanctions set by the United Nations in 1993, in response to pleas from Italy which wants to supply Libya with equipment to help it crack down on illegal migration.


    Rome has for several months been pressing its European Union (EU) counterparts to lift the embargo in order to be able to deliver equipment to Tripoli to beef up its frontiers.


    Sanctions were imposed on Libya because of what the EU, UK and US called 'state-sponsored terrorism'.

    They were partially eased last year, paving the way for Tripoli to compensate victims' families.

    The EU eased sanctions against Tripoli in 1999 but maintained a series of restrictive measures on key products, notably military equipment, which Libya has sought in order to keep a better check on its borders.


    But EU foreign ministers also voiced continued concern over a death sentence hanging over five Bulgarian medics accused by Libyan authorities of infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus.


    The Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death in May by a Libyan court after a four-year trial which ended with their conviction on charges of knowingly injecting children with tainted blood products.


    The EU - which Bulgaria is hoping to join in 2007 - has protested the sentences and accused the Libyan authorities of violating the rights of the accused.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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