|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
3 - 9 September 1998
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Take it or leave it, says USLIBYA is seeking an agreement with Britain and the United States on "modalities and arrangements" before the appearance of two suspects in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. But the US administration insists that there is nothing to discuss.
An administration official, interviewed by Al-Ahram Weekly in Washington, said: "The modalities are there in the letters presented to the [UN] secretary-general from the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States. The two accused will have safe passage from Libya to the Netherlands for the purpose of the trial. While they are in the Netherlands, we shall not seek their transfer to any jurisdiction, other than the Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. If found guilty, the two accused will serve their sentence in the United Kingdom. If acquitted, or in the event of the prosecution being discontinued by any process of law preventing any further trial under Scottish law, the two accused will have safe passage back to Libya."
The US official went on: "The two accused will enjoy the protection afforded by Scottish law. If they wish, they can be visited in custody by international observers. The trial would, of course, be held in public, adequate provision being made for the media."
The official noted that Libya made demands for modalities, specifically "safe passage," "right of appeal" and other things, like "no hidden tricks."
"Our response is that it is not necessary since every concern that Libya has raised is addressed in the letters from the Americans and the British to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 24 August," the official said. "There is nothing in Libya's concerns that has not already been addressed. So, there is no need for further talks."
The official stressed that the "deal is not subject to negotiations; either they say yes or they say no. In our view, Libya has not yet responded to the offer. Basically, what we consider to be a response would be Libya saying they are prepared to turn over the two suspects to the Netherlands. Anything else is not a sufficient answer," he said.
Libya seeks better terms