Arab states decided Monday, March 12, to "cancel" United Nations sanctions on Tripoli suspended in 1999 after two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing were handed over.
A resolution issued by a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo said they had decided that all 22 members of the Arab League would "cancel these sanctions and consider themselves freed from commitment to them."
They urged the UN Security Council to lift the air and arms embargo "immediately and permanently," after simply suspending it in April 1999.
The Arab ministers also "regretted" the conviction 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 and demanded he be set free and given a fair trial.
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 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 the Pan Am flight 103, and pay compensation to the families of the 270 victims. But the Arab foreign ministers said compensation should be paid instead to Libya for the harm it suffered as a result of the sanctions. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)