Libya Wants Off U.S. Terror List

libya leader Moammar Gadhafi
AP
Libya's foreign minister said Sunday his country would welcome the restoration of relations with the United States now that Libya has accepted responsibility for the bombing of a Pan Am jetliner in 1988.

Abdel-Rahman Shalqam said he believes the United States can now lift its sanctions against Libya and remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

"The causes for the disputes between Libya and the United States have ended," Shalqam told The Associated Press. "The two countries need each other to fight the terrorism both nations suffer from, and in the economic and investment fields."

Shalqam's remarks came after Libya accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, and its agreement to set up a $2.7 billion fund to compensate the families of the bombing's 270 victims. The settlement was announced Aug. 13.

"We welcome a restoration of ties with the United States, if America decided on that," he said.

The United States has said it would not veto the abolition of U.N. sanctions against Libya in recognition of Libya's acceptance of responsibility for the Pan Am bombing. The sanctions were imposed in 1992.

Britain has written to the United Nations and said Libya had met all the requirements for the Security Council to lift the sanctions.

"We have written today to the president of the Security Council to make that clear. And our permanent representative to the U.N. will table a draft Security Council resolution to that effect shortly," Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane said Sunday.

But Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that the United States will maintain its sanctions and Libya will remain on the terrorism list, which carries additional economic penalties.

A German magazine, Der Spiegel, reported over the weekend that Libya has signaled it is ready to offer compensation to Germany for the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin discotheque that killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman and injured 229 people.

The U.S. government has blamed the attack on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Asked about the issue, Shalqam said: "We haven't received anything official about this issue from Germany and, if we do, then we know how to manage our conflicts with others."

The foreign minister dismissed as "unacceptable" reports that France would veto a Security Council resolution to lift sanctions because it wants more compensation for the families of those killed in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner.

"The issue of the French airliner was settled years ago," Shalqam said. "As far as we are concerned, this issue is over."

Gadhafi's government agreed in 1999 to pay a $33 million settlement to victims' families.