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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 17:06 GMT
Bush: Libya must accept responsibility
President Bush at White House, 31 January 2001
President Bush wants compensation for families
President George W Bush has said Libya must accept its responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and compensate the families of the victims.

The White House had earlier said sanctions on Libya - suspended after it surrendered the two Lockerbie suspects for trial - should remain in place until relatives had been compensated.


The US government will continue to pressure Libya to accept responsibility for this act and to compensate the families

President Bush

US relatives of the Lockerbie disaster victims reacted to the verdicts by saying that Libya was guilty of terrorism and should be considered a "rogue nation".

They called for the sanctions to be immediately re-instated.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Bush said: "I want to assure the families and victims the United States government will continue to pressure Libya to accept responsibility for this act and to compensate the families."

Investigation continues

An official at the US Justice Department had earlier said the investigation would continue until any other individuals suspected of involvement were brought to justice.

In its statement, the White House said the US and British governments had made it clear to Libya "that the delivery of a verdict against the suspects... does not in itself signify an end to UN sanctions against Libya".

The statement added that the relevant UN Security Council Resolution called on Libya to provide "compensation to the victims' families" and to accept "responsibility for this act of terrorism, before UN sanctions will be removed".

But Bert Ammerman, who lost a brother in the 1988 bombing, said: "Sanctions should never go away. This is state-sponsored terrorism."

Rosemary Woolfe
Woolfe: "We have the foot-soldier but not Gaddafi"

Abuzed Dorda, Libya's UN envoy, denied Libyan involvement in the bombing.

"Libya had nothing to do with this tragedy at all," he said. "Libya as a state had nothing to do with this case."

A Scottish court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands convicted Libyan Abdel Basset Ali Al Megrahi of murder in the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing in which 270 people died.

The second defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.

Oil ban

But Mr Ammerman said: "Al Meghrahi's guilty verdict leads to the doorstep of (Libyan leader) Gaddafi.

"Our loved ones did not die in vain, but true justice will not be served because the person that should be brought to justice is the leader of Libya."

US sanctions include restrictions on trade and travel and a ban on US oil companies from operating there.

Rosemary Woolfe, whose step-daughter Miriam, 20, died in the bombing, said she was "happy and relieved" at the guilty verdict.

But she added: "We have the foot soldier, but we do not have Gaddafi and the other agents that worked with Al Megrahi to do this."

Lockerbie megapuff graphic

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