Gadhafi: 'No objection' to turning over Lockerbie suspects
But Libyan leader says details must be worked out in advanceAugust 27, 1998
Web posted at: 4:57 p.m. EDT (2057 GMT)
TRIPOLI, Libya (CNN) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says his country has "no objection" to turning over two suspects in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 for trial in the Netherlands -- if a detailed agreement is reached beforehand outlining trial procedures and if the U.N. Security Council doesn't impose any additional conditions.
But in an exclusive interview with CNN on Thursday, the Libyan leader also said the Security Council must "immediately" lift sanctions imposed on his country for previously refusing to turn over Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.
He did not elaborate on whether lifting the sanctions would have to be part of the pretrial agreement between Libya, Britain and the United States.
"There are procedures, arrangements, guarantees that the whole world should know before these two suspects should be handed over -- before the handing over," said Gadhafi.
He also said his government would be willing to negotiate the details directly with the United States and Britain, although "I am not sure America and [Britain] have good intentions to solve this problem."
Pam Am Flight 103 was en route from Britain to the United States when a bomb blew it out of the sky in December 1988. All 259 people -- including 189 Americans -- on the aircraft were killed, as were 11 people on the ground in the small village of Lockerbie, Scotland.
Until now, Britain and the United States have insisted that the suspects be brought to trial in one of the two countries. But on Monday, they offered a new initiative under which the men would be tried in the Netherlands, before Scottish judges using Scottish law.
"Libya has no objection as far as the initiative itself is concerned," Gadhafi told CNN. "But our objection is in the pitfalls or the tricks that may be attached to any Security Council resolutions."
In return for its decision to turn over the suspects, the U.N. Security Council is expected Thursday evening to take up a resolution lifting the sanctions. Gadhafi cautioned that imposing any additional conditions on Libya could cause the agreement to disintegrate -- and that Libya would not be responsible.
"We should warn that the Security Council should not be fooled and adopt a resolution that is full of pitfalls and mines because Libya is not responsible for that," he said. "Libya can only be committed to things it knows very well and that it has signed and agreed upon."
Speaking alternately in English and Arabic, Gadhafi answered questions while sitting in a wheelchair. He explained that he had broken his leg in a sports accident and was using the chair to get around while he healed.
Asked if he thought the two suspects, who are Libyan nationals, would be acquitted, he demurred, saying, "This is left to the court."
"I am not discussing whether they are guilty or not," he said.
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