The government of Libya has offered to pay 2.7 billion dollars in compensation to the families of the victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, a senior US official said.
"As I understand it, it's an offer Libya has made to the families through their lawyers and it's up to the families to decide whether they want to accept it or not," the official told AFP.
The families of each of the 270 victims of the bombing -- the 259 passengers and crew on board the plane and 11 people on the ground in the Scottish town in December 1988 -- would receive 10 million dollars, according to the official's account of the Libyan offer.
Under the offer, the money is to be paid in installments, spread out over time based on the lifting of certain sanctions imposed against Libya, the official said. The official added the offer has been negotiated without the government's participation.
"The compensation is something that the families have to work out with the Libyans," the official said, noting that US sanctions in place against Tripoli for its support of terrorism would not necessarily be affected. "The sanctions are a governmental matter," the official said.
The New York-based Kriendler & Kriendler law firm, discussing the case publicly for the first time, outlined the status of the negotiations in a five-page letter to family members. Copies were made available to the news media.
Under the agreement, the money would be placed in escrow and released piecemeal as the sanctions against Libya are revoked: 40 percent when U.N. sanctions were lifted, 40 percent with removal of U.S. commercial sanctions and 20 per cent when Libya was removed from the State Department's list of sponsors of international terrorism.
However, a senior U.S. official told AP the administration would not feel bound to comply with this arrangement.
The official predicted Congress would reject it as well. He said the United States could not commit to lifting sanctions unless Libya came into in full compliance with Security Council demands. (Albawaba.com)
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