Libya raises compensation for '89 crash

New agreement provides $170 million for families


PARIS - Libya agreed yesterday to pay $170 million to the families of victims killed in the terrorist bombing of a French airliner over Africa in 1989, clearing one of the last hurdles in its campaign to rehabilitate its image in the West.

In addition to the agreement, Libya declared last month that it would dismantle its nuclear weapons program, which it had pursued clandestinely, and invite international weapons inspectors to verify the process.

The deal, providing $1 million for each of the 170 people killed in the attack, brings to a close two years of contentious negotiations that at one point threatened to derail a U.S.-led bid to lift economic sanctions against the North African country.

"Libya must be reintegrated into the international community," said the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, at a news conference with his Libyan counterpart, Abdel Rahman Shalgam. "All our relations will benefit from a new dynamism after today."

Under the agreement, Libya's Kadafi Foundation, run by a son of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el Kadafi, will pay the $170 million in four installments. It handed over a check for the equivalent of $42.5 million at yesterday's signing.

Libya had already paid France $34 million in 1999.

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