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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 January, 2004, 08:42 GMT
US dismisses Libya sanctions call
Lockerbie crash
The bombing over Lockerbie killed 270 people in 1988
The US says sanctions on Libya will not be lifted until Tripoli eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programme.

Libya's Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanim, suggested full compensation over the Lockerbie bombing would not be paid out if the US did not end sanctions by May.

He told the New York Times the US must honour a UN agreement last September to lift the penalties within eight months.

But the State Department said Tripoli must first eliminate its weapons programme and renounce terrorism.

"Our focus is on Libyan actions and Libyan performance," said deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.

"We've made it clear that as Libya moves forward in fulfilling its commitments to divorce itself from any connection to terrorism and to abjure and dismantle its WMD programmes, we would be willing to discuss bilateral relations.

"But it hasn't got to that at this point," he added.


Mr Ghanim suggested in the interview that his government might halt compensation to families of victims of the Lockerbie disaster if America did not follow the UN in lifting sanctions by 12 May 2004.

"The agreement says that eight months after the signing, if American sanctions are not removed, then the additional $6 million for each family of victims will not be paid," he said.

Shukri Ghanim
Mr Ghanim said Libya should be paid for scrapping its weapons
"We will leave this to the decision of the Americans."

He also said Libya should be rewarded for abandoning its banned weapons programme.

Libya has so far paid $4m each to the families of the 270 people killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988.

A bomb planted by Libyan agents blew up on board the aircraft.

Lifting US sanctions would unfreeze about $1bn in assets that Libyan officials say are held in US banks, as well as allow US oil companies to return to Libya.

UK talks

The Libyan prime minister said Libya should be paid for handing over nuclear-related materials as it dismantles its nuclear weapons programme.

Libya announced its decision to scrap its weapons of mass destruction programme last month.

Mr Ghanim said his country wanted to "accelerate to the maximum" ending the project.

He told the New York Times America should act quickly to reward Libya's actions.

The US under secretary of state for arms control and international security, John Bolton, arrived in London on Friday for meetings with British officials about how to verify that Libya is scrapping its weapons.

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