UN retains Libya sanctions depite NAM bid
South News July 2

United Nations: The Security Council on Thursday decided not to lift sanctions against Libya, despite warnings from the Non-aligned Movement that its members might do so unilaterally in September.

Council President Sergei Lavrov of Russia said ``members of the council could not agree that necessary conditions exist to change the sanctions regime'' at their review of the embargo, conducted every 120 days which was imposed on Libya in 1992.The vote came as the US circulated reports that Iraq had supplied Libya with weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking on behalf of Council members, he called on the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to mediate on the issue. The Ambassador of Libya, Abuzed O. Dorda, welcomed the role for the Secretary-General, saying, "From our side, we consider it a positive sign which may lead in the very near future to practical steps which would make the sanctions over."

Ambassador Dorda added that the sanctions were "already politically over." He referred in particular to recent decisions taken by the Non-aligned Movement and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The Conference of Non-Aligned Ministers in May called on the Council to immediately suspend the sanctions until the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivers its final judgement on a related case brought by Libya against the United Kingdom and the United States.

The NAM also decided that if there was no response to this request, its members would end their compliance with the sanctions resolutions "in view of the immense harmful effects, both human and economic" they have caused.

In June, the OAU issued the same call to the Council, and decided not to comply with the sanctions starting in September if the United States and the United Kingdom refuse to allow the two suspects to be tried in a third country.
The Security Council held a day-long debate on the sanctions in March. More than 50 speakers took part and Libya received widespread support, mainly from developing countries but no resolution was adopted. But in the week prior to the vote, a disinformation report published in the US press said Libya to be in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

The Libyan People's General Committee on External Relations and International Cooperation (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), has said on June 27, described the allegations as "pure fabrication".

"There are no weapons of mass destruction in Libya, nor are there any Iraqi experts to manufacture them in the country", it said, adding that "these are false allegations fomented as part of a campaign to divert international public opinion from the reality". 

It condemned "The conspiracy against the Libyan people", saying it was a fresh attempt to sabotage efforts being made by the people to develop their country and promote its progress. The US has often accused Libya of being in possession of, or seeking to manufacture chemical or biological weapons just prior to a UN vote.

Libya contends that the United Kingdom and the United States do not have the right to compel it to surrender two Libyan nationals suspected of having caused the destruction of Pan Am flight 103, which crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988 and prompted the Council to impose sanctions pending a resolution of the issue. All 270 people aboard the flight died, as well as 11 people on the ground.

Libya argues that it is authorized to try the suspects under the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. It has also offered to have the suspects tried in a third country or at The Hague. On 27 February, the International Court of Justice decided that it does have jurisdiction to rule on Libya's case, but the Court has not yet issued its ruling.

The sanctions imposed in 1992 include an arms and air embargo and the downgrading of diplomatic relations with Libya. The curbs were tightened in 1993, to include a freeze on some Libyan assets abroad and a ban on some types of equipment used in oil terminals and refineries