Libya pays £19m to victims of disco bomb victims

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The Independent Online

Libya agreed yesterday to pay £19m in compensation for non-American victims of the 1986 Berlin disco bombing.

Libya agreed yesterday to pay £19m in compensation for non-American victims of the 1986 Berlin disco bombing.

The deal was the latest effort by Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, to shake off his country's pariah status after recently settling much larger claims for the Lockerbie and UTA airliner bombings.

After yesterday's deal was announced, the German government said that improved relations were possible with Libya and that Chancellor Gerhard Schröder would visit the north African nation soon.

The deal applies to some 160 non-American victims of the April 5, 1986 attack on the La Belle disco, including Germans who were wounded or suffered psychological damage and the family of the Turkish woman who was killed.

Lawyers are seeking separate compensation in US courts for the two American soldiers who were killed and scores of Americans wounded. The deal came in negotiations in Berlin between officials of a Libyan foundation run by Colonel Gaddafi's son and lawyers for the victims' families.

Libya said the deal did not mean that it had acknowledged guilt. When Libya accepted responsibility last year for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, it agreed to pay £1.47bn in compensation to the victims' families.

In December, Libya renounced weapons of mass destruction, and has moved this year to rebuild ties with the West. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, visited Libya in March.

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