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White House Welcomes Lockerbie Decision - 2002-03-15

The White House has welcomed the decision by a Scottish appeals court to uphold the conviction of a Libyan intelligence agent sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Bush administration is urging Libya to formally take responsibility for the bombing and pay reparations.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the court has spoken and the Libyan government must act to satisfy its obligations under U.N. resolutions related to the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

"The completion of the appeal does not end U.S. sanctions against Libya, but should spur Libya to take quick action to fully comply with the requirements of the United Nations Security Council," he said.

Mr. Fleischer was then asked what steps Libya is expected to take. "One, they need to pay all appropriate compensation to the families. They are in discussion with lawyers for the families," he said. "That is the appropriate mechanism for the determination of payment to be arrived at. They have to acknowledge responsibility in this matter."

The White House spokesman stressed Libya faces separate U.N. and American sanctions. The U.N. sanctions are connected to the Pan Am 103 incident while those imposed by the United States are the result of Libya's links to terrorist groups.

There have been reports the Bush administration might be willing to remove Libya from its official list of countries that support terrorism in exchange for a compensation deal. When asked about the matter, Mr. Fleischer said the United States government is not currently involved in any discussions with Libya, and no contacts are planned.