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Libya to Pay $170 Million Compensation for 1989 French Airliner Bombing - 2004-01-09

Libya has signed a deal to pay $1 million to each of the families of 170 people who were killed in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over the West African state of Niger. The agreement paves the way for the normalization of French-Libyan relations, and furthers Libya's reconciliation with the international community.

The deal, which was signed in Paris Friday by a representative of the victims' families and the director of a Libyan foundation, puts an end to a 15-year-old dispute between France and Libya.

The money involved is less than what Libya paid to relatives of the 270 victims of a U.S. airliner that was downed over Scotland in 1988. But it is far more than the $34 million contained in the original settlement of the French case in 1999.

The bombing of the French UTA airliner was blamed on six Libyans who were convicted in absentia by a French court. They remain at large.

Friday's accord will help Libya to improve its ties with western nations, after years of being considered a rogue state. Last month, the North African country renounced efforts to build weapons of mass destruction, and agreed to open its arms production facilities to international inspectors.