Friday, 21 November 2008

US Senate confirms ambassador to Libya

The US Senate has confirmed career diplomat Gene Cretz to be the first US Ambassador to Libya in 36 years. His nomination had been held up by Senate Democrats until Libya made good on its promise to fully compensate the families of victims of terrorist acts in the 1980s.

The Senate action late Thursday came after the Senate Democrat who had led the effort to block the nomination cleared the way for confirmation by noting that Libya last month paid $1.5 billion to relatives of victims of acts of terrorism for which Tripoli accepted responsibility.

"I lifted my hold. The process will work its way now," said Senator Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat. (...)

Relatives of those who died in the Pan Am bombing joined Senator Lautenberg at a Capitol Hill news conference Thursday to mark the settlement of claims. "We are here today to say that a measure of justice has finally prevailed," he said.

Kara Weipz lost her brother in the tragedy. "We are free now to close this chapter in our nightmare. Does it change the majority of feelings of families towards Mr. Gadhafi? Absolutely, positively not. And do the families believe that he himself or those high-ranking officials in his regime were responsible for this? Absolutely. And that does not change just because this was completed."

The Pan Am bombing claimed the lives of 270 people.

[From the website of Voice of America. The full article can be read here.]

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