US Denies Thaw in Relations with Libya
A US official Thursday denied any thaw in relations with Libya and rejected charges that Washington cut a deal with Tripoli to minimize aftershocks of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial of two Libyans.
The United States has "no broad policy of rapprochement," Ronald Neumann, deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Washington opposes lifting UN sanctions on Libya and has kept Tripoli on its list of state sponsors of terrorism even though "on our key concerns - terrorism, opposition to Middle East peace, and regional intervention-Libya no longer poses the threat it once did," he said.
US sanctions on non-US firms investing large sums in Libya's oil industry "will continue to be considered," he said, adding "we expect to maintain core unilateral economic sanctions prohibiting US-Libyan business."
"A number of issues remain on which Libya must act," said Neumann, who stressed Tripoli had to formally renounce terrorism to prove that its apparent turnabout "is permanent and not just opportunistic."
Washington also insists that Libya meet UN demands to compensate the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, and cooperate with the investigation and trial of Abdel-Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima.
The two Libyans went on trial Wednesday in a special Scottish court set up in the Netherlands. They are charged in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland on December 21, 1988, in which 270 people died – (AFP)
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