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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 05:15 GMT 06:15 UK
Move to end Libya sanctions
Lockerbie debris
Britain says Libya has met its obligations
Britain has moved to end Libya's international isolation by lifting UN sanctions imposed because of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The UK has jointly tabled a draft resolution with Bulgaria at the UN Security Council calling for an immediate end to sanctions.

The resolution welcomes the steps taken by Libya last week to accept responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and commit to paying compensation to victims' families.

The Security Council will debate the resolution on Wednesday with a vote expected soon afterwards, but France could block the move as it seeks to get better compensation for another bombing.

The millions likely to be offered to each Lockerbie family dwarfs a separate compensation deal France agreed with Libya for the families of victims of flight UTA 772, which was blown up over north Africa in 1989.

French veto?

As one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, France could veto the resolution.

The British ambassador to the UN, Emyr Jones Parry, said he hoped sanctions would be lifted sooner rather than later: "Our wish is to see an early vote. This has been a long, painful, protracted negotiation and especially for the families.

"We believe we've reached our solution, but of course it's for every country to decide between now and that vote how we should actually react on the day."

At a stroke, the new resolution would remove diplomatic and economic sanctions that have been imposed for more than a decade.

Although they have been suspended for some time now, Libya has continued to suffer from the stigma and inconvenience of a sanctions regime hanging over it.

Payment welcomed

The draft resolution, which is just one page long, welcomes the letter which the Libyan Government sent to the Security Council on Friday last week.

The text notes that in the letter, Libya accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials in connection with the Lockerbie bombing.

It also welcomes the payment of appropriate compensation to the families of the victims, and Libya's renunciation of terrorism.

Libyan Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was jailed for life in January 2001 at a special court in the Netherlands and is currently held in Glasgow's Barlinnie prison.

His appeal last year was unsuccessful, although he continues to deny any involvement in the bombing that destroyed the airliner.

The attack claimed the lives of 259 passengers and crew and 11 residents of the Scottish town below.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Greg Barrow
"All eyes will be on France"



SEE ALSO:
Libya admits Lockerbie blame
16 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Libya letter: Full text
16 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Libya agrees Lockerbie deal
14 Aug 03  |  Scotland


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