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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Timeline: Libya sanctions
Lockerbie crash
The bombing over Lockerbie killed 270 people in 1988
Libya has been subject to United States sanctions since the early 1980s over its suspected terror links, although these have now eased considerably.

The United Nations moved to impose sanctions of its own in 1992 after the bombing of the Pan Am 103 flight over Lockerbie, but these were lifted in 2003.

US sanctions:

1981 President Ronald Reagan invalidates use of US passports for travel to Libya.

1982 The US bans imports of Libyan oil and a number of exports to Libya, following a deterioration of relations.

1986 Berlin disco bombing leads to sanctions being widened to include a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts and travel-related activities.

1996 The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act is passed.

2001 The Act is amended to allow the US president to punish non-US firms investing more than $20 million annually in the energy sectors in Libya or Iran.

2003 Washington says it will not oppose the lifting of UN sanctions, but maintains its own.

2004 The US lifts many economic sanctions and restores diplomatic ties after Libya publicly turns its back on weapons of mass destruction. However, the country remains on Washington's list of state sponsors of terror, so arms exports are still banned, as is the export of so-called "dual-use" items.

UN and EU sanctions:

1992/1993 The UN Security Council imposes an air and arms embargo and bans the sale of oil equipment to Libya to put pressure on Tripoli to hand over two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing for trial.

Scene of the 1986 bombing
The 1986 bombing devastated a Berlin disco
1999 Sanctions are suspended when Libya surrenders them in April 1999.

2003 After Libya agrees to pay $2.7bn in compensation to relatives of those killed in the attack, Britain drafts a Security Council resolution to end UN sanctions. A further Libyan agreement to compensate for the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner leads to the resolution being passed on 12 September.


On 20 September, President George W Bush lifted the American trade embargo on Libya. Most of the sanctions were suspended in April, but the president formally revoked those which remained - dealing with general trade, aviation and importing Libyan oil. A freeze on Libyan assets in the United States was also lifted.

In October, European Union foreign ministers followed suit, agreeing to end sanctions, including an arms embargo.

It followed pressure from Italy, which wanted sanctions lifted so that it could supply Libya with hi-tech equipment intended to curb illegal migration.

Libya has also paid the first instalment of a compensation package to non-US victims of the 1986 Berlin disco bomb attack.

This led Germany to call for "a new quality" in EU-Libya ties and Gerhard Schroeder went to Tripoli to hold talks with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi - the first by a German chancellor.


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