UN to supend Libya sanctions on eve of NAM summit
South News Aug 27

United Nations: The Security Council decided to suspend sanctions against Libya in compromise on the eve of 12 summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Security Council on Thursday evening decided to suspend sanctions against Libya after the Secretary-General reports that Tripoli has handed over two Libyans suspected of involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 for trial in the Netherlands by Scottish judges under Scottish law.

This marked the first breakthrough in a situation which has been virtually deadlocked since the sanctions were first imposed in 1992. By its resolution, the Council invited the Secretary-General to nominate international observers for that purpose. It also requested that he assist Libya with the safe transfer of the two accused from Libya to the Netherlands.

Libyan Ambassador Abuzed O. Dorda told the Council that his Government accepted that the two suspects would be tried in a Scottish court in the Netherlands by Scottish judges under Scottish law. "This is a serious position; an irreversible position," he said. "We hope that the other party will likewise be serious in its position."

The Council welcomed the initiative of the United Kingdom and the United States, outlined in a letter to the Secretary-General, which states that the court would "follow normal Scots law and procedure in every respect, except for the replacement of the jury by a panel of three Scottish High Court judges."

The Council called upon the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to take steps to implement the initiative. It decided that the Libyan Government "shall ensure that any evidence or witnesses in Libya are, upon the request of the court, promptly made available to the court in the Netherlands for the purpose of the trial."

Mr. Dorda said the Libyan authorities had the duty and right to consider the different procedural legal issues pertaining to the trial. "We are prepared on our part to undertake that consideration either directly with the judicial authorities of the States concerned or with the Secretary-General of the United Nations," said Ambassador Dorda, adding, "We look forward to closing this entire file."

Libya's representative welcomed the acceptance of the proposals by the United Kingdom and the United States, noting that they had been put forward by the League of Arab States and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) more than four years ago. He said this acceptance was a positive step likely to result in a satisfactory and just solution to the long-lasting dispute which had caused suffering among both the Libyan people as well as the families of the victims.

In May, the Conference of Non-Aligned Ministers called on the Council to immediately suspend the sanctions until the International Court of Justice delivers its final judgement on a related case brought by Libya against the United Kingdom and the United States. The Movement 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 and because the sanctions are in violation of articles 27(3), 32, 33, 36 and 94 of the UN Charter.

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 refused to allow the two suspects to be tried in a third country.
In the week prior to the July Security Council  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.

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