UN votes to lift sanctions on Libya

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The Security Council formally ended United Nations sanctions on Libya yesterday, 15 years after the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie.

The vote, which drew abstentions from France and the United States, should allow the release of $2.7bn (£1.7bn) in compensation for families of the victims.

Britain spearheaded the effort to close the chapter on the UN sanctions after Tripoli agreed last month to release the compensation money, which means that each of the families of the Lockerbie victims should eventually receive up to $10m. Libya also formally accepted blame for the attack.

The UN sanctions barred countries from establishing air links with Libya and also put an embargo on arms deals and the sales of some oil industry equipment. The resolution was more symbolic than substantive because the sanctions have been indefinitely suspended for more than four years.

The resolution was held up for several weeks by France as it struggled to renegotiate a separate settlement with Tripoli for the downing of a UTA flight over Niger in 1989. A new agreement was finally reached this week, which should give French families of that attack greater compensation.

Washington abstained in the 13-0 vote because separate US sanctions against Libya will remain in place.