Thursday, 19 March 2015

Nelson Mandela confirms surrender of Lockerbie suspects imminent

[The following items are from this date in 1999:]

1. The following statement was issued today by the spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

This afternoon, the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda, hand delivered to the Secretary-General a letter from Omar Mustafa Muntasser, Secretary of the General People's Committee of the People's Bureau for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

As already announced by President Nelson Mandela in Tripoli this morning, the letter confirms the readiness of Libya to proceed with the transfer of the two accused to the Netherlands. The Secretary-General is greatly encouraged by this development and the necessary arrangements will now be initiated by the Secretariat.

The Secretary-General has shared the letter with the Security Council.

The Secretary-General would like to record his warm appreciation of the efforts made by President Mandela, as well as Crown Prince Abdullah and others in order to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, in cooperation with the authorities of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

2. Following is the text of remarks made today to the press by the President of the Security Council, Qin Huasun (China), following Council consultations:

Security Council members welcomed the letter from the Foreign Minister of Libya to the Secretary-General of 19 March 1999, indicating that the two suspects would be available for the Secretary-General to take custody of them on or before 6 April;

Security Council members reaffirmed existing Security Council resolutions as the basis to bring about a full and final resolution of the situation;

Security Council members looked forward to the implementation of that handover in accordance with the agreed arrangements and, taking into account also the information provided by the French authorities regarding UTA 772, to the immediate suspension of sanctions with a view to lifting them as soon as circumstances permit, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions;

Security Council members thanked the Secretary-General for his tireless efforts in reaching an understanding with Libya on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998), and expressed appreciation also for the positive actions taken by the Governments of South Africa, Saudi Arabia and other countries in support of these efforts.

3. Lockerbie trial: new developments

On 19 March 1999 President Nelson Mandela of South Africa announced in Tripoli that Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, had written to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, agreeing to surrender to him for trial the two Libyans (Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah) accused of bombing the Pan-Am jet over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988. The handover is to occur on or before 6 April 1999. UN sanctions against Libya in respect of the country’s failure to hand over the suspects will be lifted within 90 days of compliance. The trial will take place in the Netherlands under Scots criminal law and before a panel of three Scottish judges from the High Court of Justiciary.

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