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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 16:27 GMT
Cook: Libya must accept responsibility
Robin Cook
Mr Cook said the trial had been fair
Libya is being called on to accept responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and to pay compensation to the relatives of those who died.

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that sanctions would not be lifted against Libya until it met both demands.


The Lockerbie bombing stands among the most brutal acts of mass murder

Robin Cook
He told MPs that there would be no chance of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who was found guilty of murdering all 259 people on the plane and a further 11 who died on the ground, being released early.

Mr Cook welcomed the verdicts of the Scottish court in the Netherlands which found Mr Al Megrahi guilty but acquitted his co-accused Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah on Wednesday.

Compensation

The foreign secretary said Libya was required to accept responsibility and pay compensation under the terms of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

"It is in Libya's own interest to be seen to be cooperating fully with the resolution of the United Nations Security Council.

"Libyan leaders need to take every opportunity to prove to the international community that they have definitively renounced terrorism and will abide by international law."

Sanctions

Mr Cook added: "There is no question of sanctions being lifted until Libya has fulfilled those requirements."

He praised the Scottish justice system under which the Libyan official was convicted.

"It is widely agreed that it has proved a fair trial which we promised," he said.

"The Lockerbie bombing stands among the most brutal acts of mass murder."

Mr Cook said: "Nothing can repair the loss of those who were murdered that night or remove the grief of their relatives.

"But today at last those relatives know that in a fair trial before an open court, justice has been done."

Mr Cook said he would be discussing what steps should be taken next with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the coming days.

'Libya is implicated'

Shadow Foreign Secretary Francis Maude also said it was important sanctions against Libya continued.

He added: "It is clear that Libya has not fulfilled fully the United Nation's Security Council resolutions.

"It follows inescapably that the Libyan government is implicated. It must accept responsibility for the bombing of flight Pan Am 103."

Liberal Democrat spokesman Malcolm Bruce called on Colonel Gadaffi's government in Libya to apologise for the bomb.

"This is now an opportunity for Gaddafi to respond by acknowledging that Libyan officials have been involved in this dreadful act, to apologise for acts of terrorism which he says he now repudiates and to be prepared to make recompense to those who have suffered so tragically and to cooperate fully in any public inquiry."

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