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Council should formally lift Libya sanctions

Annan says Council should work to formally lift Libya sanctions

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for the Security Council to formally lift sanctions imposed against Libya in connection with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

"I think we will need to move ahead and resolve the Libyan issue," Mr. Annan said when asked to comment on the matter at a press conference in Helsinki on Friday.

Sanctions were suspended on 5 April 1999 after Libya turned over two suspects, Abdelbasset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifa Fhimah, to a Scottish court in the Netherlands. Mr. al-Megrahi was later found guilty, while Mr. Fhimah was acquitted of the charges.

Since the suspension, Mr. Annan said, "for all practical purposes the sanctions have not really been effective? and so the formal lifting, I think, is something that the Council should do and I expect it to do."

To a question on Iraq, Mr. Annan said that while the UN has chief responsibility in the humanitarian arena, "we have also been involved in the political process."

He added that talks about an expanded UN role, "including possibly the UN Security Council authorizing a multinational force to help stabilize Iraq," are still in the early stages.

Concerning reconstruction, Mr. Annan stressed that "money is going to be needed even more than ever, because oil is not flowing as one had expected." In the face of "enormous" demands, he said, "whatever help we can get for the people of Iraq will be greatly appreciated."

On Liberia, the Secretary-General was asked why Charles Taylor had been allowed to go into exile without trial. "I think your question really raises the constant issue we are faced with in such situations: there is always that need for justice but also need for peace," he replied. "I think in this situation I hope we have [stopped] the killing, we are going to be able to take in humanitarian assistance the people of Liberia who have suffered for far too long."

"But," he added, "the long arm of the law will still be at work and the indictment still stands."


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