U.S. lifts most sanctions against Libya

  1. U.S. lifts most sanctions against Libya
    From Dana Bash and Elise Labott
    CNN Washington Bureau



    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration Friday lifted most U.S. sanctions against Libya, opening the way for U.S. investments and commercial activities but still forbidding air travel and some exports to the country, the White House said.

    The decision came in recognition of the steps Libya has taken over the past two months to renounce terrorism and to voluntarily eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and longer range missile programs, White House officials said.

    "Libya has set a standard that we hope other nations will emulate in rejecting weapons of mass destruction and in working constructively with international organizations to halt the proliferation of the world's most dangerous systems," the White House said in a written statement.(Full story)

    The lifting of the sanctions makes most commercial business, investment and trade with Libya possible but maintains controls on exports to Libya in accordance with the State Department's State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The removal of sanctions means the United States will no longer punish countries who do business with Libya.

    Libya already has scheduled loading of 1 million barrels of crude oil to ship to a U.S. company, Abdullah Gheblawi, general manager for international marketing for state-owned National Oil Corporation, told Reuters.

    The United States in February dropped its 23-year-old ban on travel to Libya by U.S. citizens and permitted Americans to spend money in the country. Report: Libya among safest places to do business

    The lifting of commercial restrictions will also make Libyan students eligible to study in the United States, subject to school admission.

    The administration's move effectively "terminated" the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act in respect to Libya and "modified" the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to allow for financial transactions, which could ultimately reintegrate Libya into the global market.

    "In particular, we will drop our objection to Libyan efforts to begin the WTO [World Trade Organization] accession process," the White House statement said.

    The restraints on U.S. exports to Libya under the State Department's terrorism list prohibit the sale of dual-use goods -- items that could be used for military purposes -- ammunition and some goods related to civil aviation.

    On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that last year, "Libya held to its practice in recent years of curtailing support for international terrorism," but Tripoli continues to "maintain contact with some past terrorist clients."

    A State Department official said Friday that the administration is undertaking a review of Libyan involvement in terrorism in an effort to identify what remains for Tripoli to do to get off the terrorism list.

    Friday's lifting of sanctions did not include reinstating direct air service between the United States and Libya, nor is the release of frozen Libyan government assets authorized. But it does expand diplomatic relations. The State Department now intends to establish a U.S. liaison office in Tripoli, pending congressional notification, the White House said. Libya is expected to send diplomats to the United States shortly.

    Senior State Department officials said Friday's move was part of a "carefully calculated series of steps" the United States decided to take in response to Libya's cooperation on WMD.

    "We have been justifiably cautious about re-engaging," one official said. "We are proceeding carefully. But we have seen Libya do things nobody expected them to do and they did them with a rapidity that has left some ... breathless."

    With the lifting of sanctions, the Libyan government is to make payments to the families of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

    Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion, or $10 million per family, in compensation to the families of the 270 victims killed in the attack. Each of the families received the first sum of $4 million when the United Nations lifted sanctions. Each family now is to receive $4 million. The remaining $2 million is to be paid when Libya is removed from the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

    The United States imposed travel and other restrictions on Libya in the early 1980s and added broad sanctions in 1986 after Libya was blamed for the bombing of a Berlin disco that killed two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman, and wounded 229, including 79 Americans.

    The sanctions were further expanded in the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, which cited Libya's failure to comply with U.N. resolutions, support of terrorism and efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

    Administration officials said the expansion of diplomatic relations will bring an upgrade of the U.S. diplomatic office in the country, from an "interest section" under the protection of Belgium to a "liaison office," a free-standing office without a protecting power. State Department officials said the office would be manned by Greg Berry, who previously was the director of the Egypt and North Africa office at the State Department.

    The upgrade, another official said, is "protocol significant," but won't really change the situation on the ground.

    "Basically it gets us more pregnant," the official said, adding the U.S. has been looking at increasing the number of staff to Libya, but won't be sending any "charge d'affaires."

    Libyan diplomats have been scouting locations for an interest section in Washington, and Tripoli is expected to establish an interest section in the coming months.

    Senior State Department officials said Friday that before the U.S. fully restores diplomatic relations with Libya, it wants Libya to resolve outstanding legal claims with Germany and other countries who charge Libya was responsible for terrorist attacks on their soil. The United States is also concerned about Libya's human rights record, and wants Tripoli to complete some remaining issues pertaining to its disarmament -- described by one official as "dotting i's and crossing t's."

    "This is an important step along the way," this official said, adding that if the Libyans continue to demonstrate the same commitment to addressing these issues that it did to the WMD issue, the U.S. "will respond accordingly."
    •  
  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    $
    $$$$$$$$$
  4. by   Mkue
    Quote from BeachNurse
    The decision came in recognition of the steps Libya has taken over the past two months to renounce terrorism and to voluntarily eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and longer range missile programs, White House officials said.

    "Libya has set a standard that we hope other nations will emulate in rejecting weapons of mass destruction and in working constructively with international organizations to halt the proliferation of the world's most dangerous systems," the White House said in a written statement.(Full story)
    I'm glad someone was finally able to make this happen. Libya voluntarily eliminating it's WMD and also renounces terrorism. Awesome, never thought I'd see the day when this would happen. Remarkable.
  5. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from mkue
    I'm glad someone was finally able to make this happen. Libya voluntarily eliminating it's WMD and also renounces terrorism. Awesome, never thought I'd see the day when this would happen. Remarkable.

    I had the same thought.
  6. by   donmurray
    This is old news in Yoorp! check the date on this article. It seems that Libya is finally meeting the terms of a 1992 UN resolution. Spacenurse is correct, but American big business is late to the trough on this one!

    Libya agrees 1.7bn Lockerbie compensation deal
    By Paul Sims, PA News
    14 August 2003


    A 1.7 billion deal to compensate the families of 270 victims killed in the Lockerbie bombing has been agreed by Libya, it was announced today.

    Libya pledged to transfer the money to a Swiss bank account at the end of an exhaustive round of talks with British and American representatives yesterday.

    And the first instalment, worth 675 million, will be released by Libya as early as next week when the United Nations Security Council is expected to announce the lifting of sanctions imposed in the wake of the atrocity.

    The remaining 1 billion, however, is dependent on the US lifting its bilateral sanctions on Libya and the removal of the country from the US State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism within the next eight months.

    The deal, one of the largest compensation packages in history, will see Libya assume responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988 and was announced by the lawyers representing the families via e-mail late last night.

    "Great news! After an 11-hour session in London today, we signed an escrow agreement with the Libyan delegation and the Bank for International Settlements," said the message from lawyers representing the families, James Kreindler and Steven Pounian.

    "We expect that the 2.7 billion will be deposited with the BIS soon and that Libya will be sending its letter accepting responsibility to the UN Security Council.

    "When both of these events occur, we expect the UN Security Council to enter a resolution lifting the UN sanctions against Libya which will trigger the payment of 4 million (2.5 million) per case to our New York trust account."

    Saad Djebbar, a London-based lawyer familiar with the case, said: "Terms and conditions of the account have already been disclosed and an agreement has been reached. All that remains are the procedural matters.

    "I expect that by the middle of next week UN sanctions will have been finally removed on Libya."

    David Ben-Aryeah, a spokesman for relatives, said the families would react to the news with "a little exasperation".

    He said the reports of 7 million compensation for each family was "accurate in principle".

    Mr Ben-Aryeah explained: "Basically what happens is that it is paid in three instalments, the first instalment of four million dollars (2.4 million) per family could be paid within the next few weeks.

    The second instalment of four million dollars and the third instalment of two million dollars (1.2 million) are conditional on the Americans removing sanctions and then removing Libya from the list of states sponsoring terrorism.

    "There are serious misgivings as to whether either of those instalments will ever be made.

    "The UK relatives, who have honoured me with their trust and friendship, have had two basic demands from the very first days - truth and justice. "We have had a form of justice but we have not had anything approaching the truth.

    "They asked the Foreign Secretary for a full and independent inquiry. He rejected that request.

    "It is extremely upsetting that in the last six weeks no fewer than two independent judicial inquiries have been set up, I refer of course to the Kelly inquiry and Deepcut.

    "It is extremely upsetting for the UK families, they want the truth," he said.

    A 1992 security council resolution banned arms sales and air links to Libya in an effort to force Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's government to hand over two Libyans indicted in the Pan Am bombing. After the men were handed over for trial in April 1999, the council suspended sanctions indefinitely.

    In 2001, a Scottish court convicted Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi of the bombing and sentenced him to life imprisonment. A second Libyan was acquitted.

    Under the UN resolution, sanctions cannot be lifted permanently until Libya acknowledges responsibility for the bombing, pays fair compensation, renounces terrorism and discloses all it knows about the explosion.

    24 April 2004 19:20

    Independent.co.uk
  7. by   fergus51
    A long time in the making.... I hope this becomes a good thing.
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Can we trust Gaddafi?

close