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Page last updated at 10:37 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 11:37 UK

US signs Libya compensation deal

People visit the Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance (image from May 2000)
Most of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing were Americans

US President George W Bush has signed a law paving the way for Libya to pay millions of dollars to US victims of terror, but accept no responsibility.

It allows the state department to settle all remaining lawsuits against Libya by US terrorism victims.

These include the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people and the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco that killed three and injured more than 200.

The deal could lead to closer ties between Washington and Tripoli.

Under the arrangement, Libya would not accept responsibility for the acts, but would pay compensation to the victims.

The bill lets the Pan Am and La Belle disco victims, who already have settlements with Libya, recover the full amount they are owed.

Libya has paid the families involved in the Pan Am settlement $8m (4m) each, and owes them $2m more.

"For too many years, Libya has refused to accept responsibility for its horrific acts of terrorism against American victims," said Sen Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who sponsored the original legislation to allow compensation.

"But after the pressure we applied, Libya will finally be held accountable for these devastating events. Our bill becoming law means these victims and their families can get the long overdue justice they deserve."

In 2003, Tripoli stopped working on weapons of mass destruction - a decision that led to the restoration of US diplomatic ties with Libya, which was removed from America's list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

The attack on the La Belle disco - a nightspot frequented by US army personnel based in the-then West Germany - left three people dead and some 230 injured.





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