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Libya Hopes to Improve Relations With US - 2003-08-16

Libya says it hopes its formal acceptance of responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing will help improve Tripoli's relations with the United States.

Libyan officials expressed their desire to work with Washington in interviews Saturday with Western news organizations.

Meanwhile, Britain says it is ready to propose lifting U-N sanctions against Libya in light of Tripoli's admission of responsibility for bombing Pan Am flight 103. British officials say a draft resolution will be presented to the U.N. Security Council as early as Monday.

The United States says it will not oppose lifting U.N. sanctions on Libya.

Libya formally accepted responsibility for the bombing on Friday. It also agreed to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to the families of the 270 victims of the bombing.

But Libya has ruled out paying more compensation to the families of victims of a 1989 bombing of a French airliner, although France has threatened to veto Britain's draft resolution unless Libya boosts the compensation.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abderrhmane Chalgam told the Cable News Network (CNN) Saturday the case is closed based on a prior agreement Tripoli made with French officials. He said Libya will not accept any extortion or blackmail.

One hundred seventy people died in the bombing of a French UTA aircraft over Niger in 1989.