Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 12:16:41 -0600 (CST)
From: David Muller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: South Movement
Subject: UN SC temporarily lifts Libya sanctions
PRETORIA: Jan 7 (South News) The United Nations Security Council had agreed to temporarily lift its air embargo on Libya to allow Saudi ambassador and South African under-foreign secretary to fly to Tripoli, President Nelson Mandela said today.
Mr Gerwel and the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, are flying to Tripoli to try to secure agreement from Muammar Qadhafi for the trial to take place in The Hague.
Mandela made the announcement at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They both expressed confidence an impasse that has prevented the suspects from being tried in a third country could be broken.
Mandela said Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and the director general of Mandela’s office, Jakes Gerwel, would fly to Libya in the next few days to hold discussions with Libyan officials.
Blair had tried to limit his comments to generalities and grimaced when Mandela announced the pending mission.
Lifting sanctions against Libya would bring economic benefits to the country, which has always denied its involvement in bringing down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie 10 years ago, with the loss of 270 lives.
Libya has agreed in principle to the trial of the two men before a panel of Scottish judges in the Netherlands, but the handover has been held up over a Libyan demand that if convicted, the suspects should be jailed in Libya. The Western plan is for the sentences to be served in Britain.