Documents on Terrorism
Statement by Ambassador A. Peter Burleigh; August 27, 1998

Statement by Ambassador A. Peter Burleigh, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United States, on the Situation in Libya, in the Security Council, August 27, 1998

With the adoption of this resolution, the Security Council will take an important step toward obtaining a measure of justice for the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing and their families.

The arrangements endorsed in this resolution will assure a fair trial for the two Libyan suspects. The proceedings will be consistent with the requirements of the UN resolutions as well as US, British and Dutch Law. The terms of the resolution and modalities of the trial have been carefully crafted by legal experts and are based on the decisions of the international community as reflected in Security Council resolutions 731, 748 and 883.

We thank the Government of the Netherlands for helping to bring about the arrangements endorsed in this resolution.

We regret the hostile tone of Libya's remarks.

What we need now from the Libyans is not equivocal or conditional statements, but simple, straightforward acceptance. Chapter VII resolutions are mandatory on all member states, including Libya. We look now to the Libyan Government for prompt action. We expect their deeds to be the proof of their stated intentions.

Let us not mince words. For Libya, dealing positively with this resolution can mean one thing and one thing alone: Ensuring that the two suspects appear to stand trial in the Netherlands without delay.

The international community has heard the Libyan Government repeat, on numerous occasions, its explicit commitment to cooperate in bringing the defendants to trial under Scottish Law, with Scottish judges, in a neutral third country. Senior Libyan officials have made that commitment on the record many times -- including the Libyan Foreign Minister's personal pledge to the Security Council just last March. Now Libya will be required to live up to that pledge.

The United States, the Security Council and the world community are watching. Most importantly, the family members of the 270 victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing are watching. Failure by Libya to act promptly to ensure the appearance of the defendants would be a monumental breach of faith which would compel the Security Council to act appropriately in response. We hope that will not be necessary.

In recent years a number of nations and regional Organizations -- including the Arab League; The organization of African Unity; The Organization of the Islamic Conference; and the Non-Aligned Movement, which is about to convene an important summit conference in South Africa -- have endorsed exactly the sort of arrangements contained in this resolution. They have urged the United States and the United Kingdom to adopt this approach. We have listened to their views and responded.

We now call upon those nations and organizations, in turn, to urge Libya in the strongest terms to turn over the two defendants for trial without delay. Just as we will be watching Libya's response to this resolution, we will be carefully gauging the response of those nations and organizations. We expect unhesitating and unequivocal support for this resolution. The victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing, and their surviving family members, deserve nothing less.

I would also reaffirm U.S. support for France in its ongoing investigation of the UTA bombing. As we look forward to convening the trial of the Pan Am 103 defendants, we will continue to support France's demand for Libya's full cooperation on UTA 772.

It has been nearly 10 years since the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103. Since that terrible day in December 1988, the United States, the United Kingdom, the surviving family members and the world community have suffered the frustration of a long, complex investigation and an even longer period of unconscionable delay and equivocation by the Government of Libya.

This resolution spells out exactly what Libya must do, and notes the Security Councils intention to consider further measures if the two suspects do not appear for trial promptly. We expect Libya to take the necessary steps so that the trial can proceed without further delay. The international community and the families of the victims have waited long enough.

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