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Libyan Official Critical of Lockerbie Verdict - 2001-11-13

Libya's foreign minister today joined in the call for an international response to the terrorist threat. But, in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he was also critical of the Lockerbie bombing verdict handed down earlier this year.

Mohammed Shalgem offered Libya's support in the global campaign to fight terror. He reminded the U.N. that in 1992, Libya requested a special session of the General Assembly to establish comprehensive procedures to battle terrorism, and asked the world body to reconsider that proposal. But, he was also highly critical of another, related issue: the verdict handed down earlier this year in the Lockerbie bombing trial.

One of the Libyan defendants in that trial was found guilty by a Scottish tribunal, at a trial held in the Netherlands under Scottish law*. Mr. Shalgem expressed his country's disagreement with the verdict. "What we wish to highlight and to emphasize is that the conviction issued by the tribunal on the 31st of January this year was a political decision that has nothing whatsoever to do with the law," he says. "Al-Magrahi, a Libyan citizen, has been kidnapped for political reasons."

Just as speakers from other developing countries, Mr. Shalgem told the U.N. that, in addition to terrorism, several other global challenges must be met. Among them, he cited the environment, the AIDS crisis, and global trade. He also asked the U.N. to implement internal reforms to give a greater voice to the developing countries.

*This report originally stated incorrectly that the defendant was found guilty by an international tribunal. (corrected 11/27/2001)