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World - Africa

Diplomat: No obstacles remain for handover of Lockerbie suspects


March 25, 1999
Web posted at: 11:19 p.m. EDT (2319 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- A diplomat involved in the delicate Lockerbie-Libya bombing discussions said no problems remain before the handover of two Libyan men for trial in connection with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and representatives from the five permanent nations of the Security Council.

After the meeting, he told journalists the two suspects will be turned over for trial in the Netherlands by April 6.

He called the deal a "win-win" situation, "relieving the suffering of the Libyan people who are under seven years of U.N. sanctions and the search for justice by the families of the victims of the plane disaster."

Susan Cohen, whose daughter was killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, expressed caution about the handover, saying she feared it could lead to a "disgraceful international trial."

Libya has repeatedly asked for clarifications and changes in proposals made by the United States and Britain for the handover of the suspects, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhima.

But last week, Tripoli pledged to turn over the suspects by April 6, clearing the way for a long-sought trial after years of diplomatic efforts to try the men.

The United Nations' chief attorney is leading the discussions to hammer out final details of the plan. The prince and U.N. officials refuse to say whether the suspects might be turned over before the April 6 deadline.

If the suspects are indeed handed over, they will be flown to the Netherlands for a trial in a Scottish court. At that point, the U.N. Security Council would suspend sanctions on Libya, pending developments.

The United States and Britain have been pressing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi through the United Nations to accept the arrangement. The bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 killed 270 people.

Mandela: Libya sets date for Lockerbie suspects handover
March 19, 1999
Gadhafi journeys to Egypt for talks on Lockerbie suspects
March 5, 1999
Libya 'studying' proposed handover of Lockerbie suspects
March 1, 1999
U.S., Britain give Libya more time to turn over bombing suspects
February 26,1999
Libya seeking clarifications on Lockerbie proposal
February 22, 1999
Diplomats: Deal close over Lockerbie bombing suspects
February 13, 1999

Permanent Mission of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations in New York
Documents Concerning the Lockerbie Issue
Cairo Times
Egypt State Information Service
United Nations Security Council
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