[Today is the tenth anniversary of the removal by the United Nations Security Council of the sanctions against Libya imposed in the wake of Lockerbie. Here are some extracts from the report published at the time by the United Nations News Centre:]
After several delays in recent weeks, the United Nations Security Council today finally lifted decade-old sanctions imposed against Libya over the deadly bombing in 1988 of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, after Tripoli agreed to pay up to $10 million each to the families of the 270 victims.
The vote on the resolution, adopted by 13 in favour with two abstentions – France and the United States – had been postponed repeatedly while Paris negotiated with Libya to improve a settlement of $34 million it had already reached over the similar bombing of a French UTA plane over Niger in 1989, which killed 170 people.
Welcoming the vote, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement he hoped this "important step, along with the settlement arrangements agreed following many years of intensive negotiations, will help bring some comfort to the families of the victims of the tragic events" over Scotland and Niger "as the international community strives to bring this tragic chapter to a close."
The sanctions, which included a ban on military sales, air communications and certain oil equipment, had already been suspended by the Council in 1999 after Libya agreed to hand over two nationals for trial before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands in connection with the bombing. One of them, Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi, was convicted and jailed for his role.
The United Kingdom and Bulgaria cosponsored the resolution after Libya told the Council in August of its readiness to cooperate in the international fight against terrorism and compensate the families of those killed at Lockerbie, as demanded by Council resolutions 748 of 1992 and 883 of 1993.
Earlier this week, UK Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, who is Council President for the month of September, said Libya’s current compliance with the terms of the earlier resolutions could allow it to move back into the international community.