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    U.N. Council Adds Sanctions on Libya

    By Julia Preston
    Special to The Washington Post
    Friday, November 12, 1993; Page A39

    UNITED NATIONS, NOV. 11 -- The Security Council voted today to tighten trade sanctions on Libya to force the extradition of two suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland.

    The new sanctions, which go into effect Dec. 1, include a ban on sales to Libya of equipment for refining and exporting petroleum and a limited freeze on Libyan financial assets overseas. Already in place were sanctions, imposed in March 1992, that reduced Libyan diplomatic representation abroad, sought to ground the national airline and embargoed arms sales.

    The decision today retained those measures while adding the new restrictions, but it fell short of the global oil embargo President Clinton promised to seek in a campaign pledge to relatives of those who died on the sabotaged flight.

    The Security Council adopted the resolution, proposed by the United States, France and Britain, by a vote of 11 to 0; China, Djibouti, Morocco and Pakistan abstained. Russia, which recently threatened to veto the measure, voted for it after intense negotiations between Moscow and Washington.

    The resolution "demonstrates for all to see that this Council is steadfast in its opposition to international terrorism," U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright said after the vote. "To those who say it is not strong enough, I ask this: Why did Libya try so hard to stop this resolution if the sting of its new sanctions is so mild?"

    {Libya called the new sanctions unjust and said Western "imperialist states" used "pressure and threats" to force the Security Council to adopt them, the Associated Press said, citing a BBC monitoring of Libya's state-run Jana news agency.}

    About two dozen of the victims' relatives were in the U.N. gallery. Most praised the move, although they remained skeptical that it would work.

    "The Security Council has shown it is not willing to stand by while Libya continues to defy the world," said Rosemary Wolfe, the leader of a relatives' group. Her stepdaughter, Miriam, was aboard the flight that exploded over Lockerbie, killing 270 people on board and on the ground. But Wolfe added, "We hope next time they will go for the full embargo."

    Germany and Italy, which rely heavily on petroleum from Libya, opposed the proposed oil embargo.

    Today's resolution further reduces Libya's diplomatic missions, sets up new restrictions to block Libya's national airlines and impedes the country's maintenance of its airfields.

    But the financial freeze exempts Libyan income from petroleum and agricultural products -- Libya's only significant exports. Libya earns an estimated $10 billion a year from oil sales. Also, since more than two months have elapsed since the Council began to consider the new sanctions, Libya has had ample time to withdraw its funds from foreign accounts.

    In January 1992, the Council demanded that Libya turn over suspects Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah for trial in Scotland or the United States for their alleged roles in planting the lethal bomb. The government of Moammar Gadhafi this week offered to extradite them for trial in Switzerland. But the United States and its allies are insisting they go to Scotland.


    © Copyright 1993 The Washington Post Company

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