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Wednesday, October 29, 1997 Published at 18:20 GMT


Gaddafi defiant over Lockerbie bomb trial

A warm welcome

The Libyan leader, Muammer Gaddafi, has welcomed South African President Nelson Mandela to Libya for the second time in a week.

Despite the high-level visit, Colonel Gaddafi stood firm on his refusal to extradite two men accused of bombing an American airliner over Scotland in 1988.

Mr Mandela has said he is not trying to mediate on the issue, but he did urge Libya to support the work of the United Nations.

The visit was very brief and it consisted mainly of an award ceremony. The South African President presented Colonel Gaddafi with the Order of Good Hope in recognition of his support for the struggle against apartheid.
[ image: A girl gives Mandela flowers]
A girl gives Mandela flowers

Mr Mandela's unexpected return after such a short time had prompted speculation that he was trying to resolve the dispute over the Lockerbie bombing.

The two men met privately for 15 minutes and publicly the South African President did not refer directly to the issue.

But in a short speech, he urged Colonel Gaddafi to work with the United Nations in its efforts to reduce conflict.

The Libyan leader thanked Mr Mandela for his advice. Libyans have appreciated South Africa's support for their proposal that the two Lockerbie suspects be tried in a country other than Britain or the United States. But Colonel Gaddafi said later there was no way Libya would ever extradite the men to either country.

As for the UN, he said international institutions were more interested in dominating weak countries than making peace.

Muammer Gaddafi has often accused the United States of using the UN to carry out its imperial policies. He told the audience gathered for the award ceremony that his real honour was the presence of Nelson Mandela, despite the difficulties posed by UN sanctions and American arrogance.

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