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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > May
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 15, 2006


Rescission of Libya's Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism

Countries whose governments the U.S. has determined have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated as state sponsors of terrorism under provisions in the Foreign Assistance Act, Arms Export Control Act, and Export Administration Act. The Secretary of State can rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor, if the President submits a report to Congress at least 45 days before the proposed rescission. The report needs to justify the rescission and certify that the government of Libya has not provided any support for international terrorism during the last six months and has provided assurances that it will not support future acts of international terrorism. After careful review, the President submitted a report on Libya to Congress on May 15, 2006. In conjunction, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced her intention to rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism after the 45-day period expires.

Libya was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1979. Relations deteriorated further during the 1980s, particularly in the aftermath of Libya’s role in the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people. In 1999, Libya began seriously to address our terrorism concerns and began the process of fully meeting the requirements to distance itself from terrorism by transferring the suspects in the Pan Am 103 case for trial by a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. Beginning in 2001, the United States and the United Kingdom initiated three-way direct talks with Libyan representatives to secure Libya's compliance with the remaining international terrorism requirements. Based upon these discussions, on August 15, 2003, Libya sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council confirming its commitment "not to engage in, attempt, or participate in any way whatever in the organization, financing or commission of terrorist acts or to incite the commission of terrorist acts or support them directly or indirectly" and to "cooperate in the international fight against terrorism." Libya also accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials in the Pan Am 103 incident, agreeing to pay over $2 billion in compensation to the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 and pledged to cooperate in the investigation.

On December 19, 2003, after intense discussions with the United States and the United Kingdom, Libya announced its decision to abandon its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and MTCR Category I missile delivery systems. President Bush responded that the United States would reciprocate Libya's good faith in implementing this change of policy. At the same time, Libya moved forward in implementing its pledge to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism. Since September 11, 2001, Libya has provided excellent cooperation to the United States and other members of the international community in response to the new global threats we face. Based on this cooperation, Secretary Rice also announced on May 15, 2006, that, for the first time, Libya will not be certified this year as a country not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts.

The United States has responded to Libya's actions through a careful step-by-step process designed to acknowledge Libya's progress, but still allow review at each stage. Libya has responded in good faith not only in the area of international terrorism but also in the related field of weapons of mass destruction. Libya is an important model to point to as we press for changes in policy by other countries (such as Iran, North Korea, and others), changes that are vital to U.S. national security interests and to international peace and security.

2006/496


Released on May 15, 2006

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