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Deal With Libya Imminent, Says France


France says a deal could be reached soon with Libya on increased payment for victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Africa. The compensation issue is delaying a vote in the United Nations on lifting sanctions against Libya.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says representatives of the families of victims of the bombing of the French plane went to Libya to discuss compensation. He told French RTL radio that he thinks an agreement is possible, although it is up to Tripoli to find solutions with the families.

Libyan officials say it is possible to reach an accord through the Gaddafi foundation, which is run by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son.

Paris is trying to negotiate the new compensation deal for the bombing of a French UTA airliner over Niger, in 1989, that killed 170 people. Libya has already paid $33 million to families of the victims.

The news about a possible deal comes just one day after Britain and France announced an agreement to delay a United Nations Security Council vote on lifting sanctions imposed on Libya over its role in terrorist bombings.

The Security Council is considering a resolution to lift sanctions on Libya, which last week took responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and renounced terrorism. The explosion on board the Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, killed 270 people. Libya has agreed to pay $2.7 billion to families of the victims.

France had threatened to veto the UN resolution unless it could reach a its own deal in the UTA bombing. Libya said this week it is willing to find a compromise, but also warned France not to block the sanctions vote.

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