U.S. to aid effort to impose sanctions against Libya Role in bombings prompts campaign

December 19, 1991|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The United States, Britain and France have agreed to begin a campaign to win international support for sanctions against Libya for the part they say it played in the bombings of a Pan American World Airways plane over Scotland and of a French airliner in Africa, in which a total of 440 people were killed, officials of the three countries said yesterday.

The three countries are considering a Security Council resolution that would, at a minimum, ban all international flights in and out of Libya, the sale of commercial planes and spare parts, and the delivery of any airline-related services.

But the countries are also discussing more stringent sanctions, ranging from a ban on the sale of military equipment and civilian technology that could have military uses to a ban on Libyan oil exports.

The intention of the sanctions would be to force Col. Muammar el Kadafi to comply with specific demands made by the three countries, officials said. The demands include a U.S. and British request for extradition of two Libyan intelligence agents who have been indicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am's Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, three years ago Saturday and compensation for that attack.

French courts have also accused Libyan agents of the bombing of a Union de Transports Aeriens plane over Niger in September 1989 in which 170 people were killed.

Libya has been the target of a variety of U.S. and European Community sanctions for years, and it is doubtful that new economic sanctions would change Colonel Kadafi's behavior.

Officials of the three governments said that while they have not ruled out military action against Libya as a last resort, their current strategy does not include any attempt to gain international support for a possible military strike.

The United States has already laid the groundwork for sanctions through its embassies for a preliminary resolution condemning Libya. Immediately after the indictments of two Libyan intelligence agents by a federal grand jury and by Britain on Nov. 14, the United States ordered ambassadors or senior diplomats in every capital to present the evidence compiled for the indictments and make a general argument for punishing the regime of Kadafi.

But U.S. and British officials acknowledge the difficulty they face in trying to win sanctions against Libya, adding that they have not completely agreed on a joint strategy for accomplishing their goals.

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