Tuesday, August 25, 1998 Published at 01:34 GMT 02:34 UK
Libya's Lockerbie response awaited
Colonel Gadaffi: No response yet
The United States and Britain are awaiting a response from Libya after agreeing that two Libyans accused of blowing up an American airliner over Lockerbie, in Scotland, can be tried in the Netherlands.
The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, said it was up to Libya to honour its undertaking to give the suspects over for trial in a third country.
In a brief sub-titled statement, Mr Cook strongly stressed the link between the trial and the lifting of United Nations sanctions on Libyan trade and air traffic.
"We want the trial in order to reveal the facts to the victims' families.
"It is useful for them [the Libyans] to accept an agreement they proposed in the first place.
"Justice will take its course and the sanctions will be lifted."
In all, 270 people died in what was the worst terrorist atrocity on British soil.
Libya claimed the men would not receive a fair trial and refused to hand them over.
The UN responded by imposing trade and air transport sanctions in 1992.
Mr Cook described the decision to allow a trial in a third country as "an historic innovation in international legal practice" and urged Libya to cooperate "quickly and without equivocation".
In his address on MBC, Mr Cook made it clear that the UK will support action in the UN Security Council to suspend sanctions against Libya as soon as the two accused are handed over for trial.
"It is a way forward that holds out the prospect of lifting the hardship of sanctions on the people of Libya - and ending the long wait for justice of the relatives of those who were murdered.
"It is now up to Libya to honour their undertakings to hand over the two accused for trial."
The move has been seen as calling Colonel Gadaffi's bluff. Some commentators believe that he has been stalling since 1988 and never intended to hand over the suspects.
Libya has yet to respond to the proposal for a third country trial.