Libya delivers letter accepting Lockerbie guilt

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The Independent Online

A letter from Libya formally accepting responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing was handed in to the United Nations last night.

As well as acknowledging the attack on Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, the North African country agreed to renounce terrorism in the letter.

Its delivery had been delayed due to the power cuts in New York. Libya agreed earlier this week to pay a maximum of £1.7bn compensation in instalments to the families of the 270 victims.

The UN security council will meet early next week to discuss lifting sanctions against the North African country, although Washington has warned that it will not end US sanctions.

Under a 1992 UN resolution, sanctions against Libya were not to be lifted until it acknowledged responsibility for the bombing, paid fair compensation, renounced terrorism and disclosed all it knew about the explosion.

The US and Britain have delivered letters to the Security Council declaring that Libya had met the conditions required to lift UN sanctions.

A first instalment of almost £700m will then be paid out to the families of those killed in the atrocity from a Swiss bank account, set up by Libya two days ago after exhaustive talks between lawyers representing all sides ended in agreement.

In 2001, a Scottish court convicted Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi of the bombing and sentenced him to life imprisonment. A second Libyan was acquitted.