Arab leaders decided Wednesday, march 28, to unilaterally break UN sanctions on Tripoli if they are ever reimposed after being suspended in 1999 when two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie plane bombing were handed over.
The final communiqué from an Arab summit in Amman said that Arabs will now consider themselves "free from any commitment to the sanctions in the event that they are reimplemented."
They urged the United Nations Security Council to lift the air and arms embargo "immediately and permanently." "There is no longer any justification for their continuation under any guise," leaders of the 22 member Arab League said, arguing that Libya has "fulfilled all its obligations" to the Security Council."
The summit resolutions also called for the release of Libyan national Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi, who was found guilty in January of blowing up a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people. They said Megrahi's conviction was a "political" one that had "no relation with the law."
The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya in March 1992 and later froze its government assets abroad to pressure Tripoli to hand over suspects in the Lockerbie bombing. But many countries, including the group of non-aligned nations, have been asking for the embargo to be lifted for good after the Lockerbie trial ended with Megrahi's conviction and the acquittal of the other defendant.
The non-aligned movement — which includes most Arab countries — said it was satisfied that Libya met all requirements by cooperating with the special Scottish court, which tried the two Libyans at a special sitting in The Netherlands.
Britain and the United States say Libya must also accept official responsibility for the destruction of Pan Am flight 103, and pay compensation to the families of the 270 victims. — (AFP, Washington)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)