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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > August

Libya - Pan Am 103

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
August 15, 2003

As the White House spokesman also announced today, Libya, in a letter to the UN Security Council, stated it “accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials” in the Pan Am 103 bombing, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, December 21, 1988; and made arrangements to pay compensation to the families of the victims in accordance with an agreement worked out directly between the families and Libya. Previously Libya transferred the two Libyan suspects charged in the bombing, one of whom, Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi, was convicted of murder and is now serving a life sentence.

In recognition of these steps, and to allow the families’ settlement to go forward, the United States has notified the United Nations Security Council that, when the necessary sums have been deposited into the agreed escrow account, we will not oppose the lifting of the UN sanctions that were suspended in 1999.

The lifting of sanctions at the United Nations will not affect U.S. bilateral sanctions on Libya, which will remain in place. We remain deeply concerned about other aspects of Libya’s behavior, including its poor human rights record and lack of democratic institutions; its destructive role in perpetuating regional conflicts in Africa; and, most troubling, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their related delivery system. Libya also remains on the state sponsors of terrorism list, which carries its own sanctions. Libya must address the concerns underlying these bilateral measures. Libya must continue to take definitive action to assist in the fight against international terrorism.

The efforts undertaken by the U.S. government in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 should serve to remind all who would engage in terrorist acts that the United States will always pursue justice and redress for its citizens. Combating the evil of terrorism remains a paramount commitment of the United States. We will not relent in that continuing struggle.


Released on August 15, 2003

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