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France 'to veto Libya resolution'

From Liz Neisloss

170 people were killed when the French UTA DC-10 was blown up over Africa in 1989.

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- British diplomats have agreed to postpone a vote on a United Nations resolution to lift sanctions on Libya after France said it would veto the measure.

The British -- who have readied a draft U.N. resolution to lift sanctions -- had indicated they hoped for a vote Friday. But diplomats agreed for a delay after France threatened to use its veto if forced to vote this week, a British official told CNN.

The French want more time from the British while the French government tries to negotiate additional compensation for families of people killed in a 1989 French airliner bombing.

"If the vote were on Friday, we'd have to vote negatively," said the French diplomat.

That diplomat said discussions continued between Paris and London on the timing of the vote.

United Nations sanctions on Libya -- currently suspended -- were put in place as a result of the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, to pressure Libya into handing over suspects and to cooperate with that investigation.

In an agreement struck among the governments of Libya, the United States and Britain, sanctions would be lifted once Libya agreed to pay compensation, accepted responsibility for the bombing and renounced terrorism.

The compensation agreement in that deal -- $2.7 billion -- has been deposited in an escrow account in a Swiss bank.

That settlement amount dwarfed the roughly $33 million judgment in the bombing of the French UTA flight and spurred the French to try to increase their settlement.

French President Jacques Chirac telephoned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Sunday pressing for a new settlement for the families. (Full story)

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