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World - Africa

Libya seeks to bargain over Pan Am bomb suspects

lockerbie

U.S. has said offer was non-negotiable

August 28, 1998
Web posted at: 12:58 p.m. EDT (1658 GMT)

TRIPOLI, Libya (CNN) -- The Libyan government on Friday called on the United States, Britain and the Netherlands to enter into negotiations on judicial procedures for the trial in the Netherlands of two Libyan suspects in the Pan Am bombing case.

There was no immediate comment from the other nations.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah are accused of planting a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, December 21, 1988, killing 270 people.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to suspend sanctions against Libya once it hands over the two intelligence agents for trial in the Netherlands.

Also Thursday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said he wouldn't surrender the men until he received guarantees that the United States and Britain wouldn't play "tricks."

Gadhafi
Gadhafi  

Gadhafi's comments in an exclusive interview with CNN came a day after Libya announced acceptance in principle of the U.S.-British plan, at the same time demanding that sanctions be lifted.

On Friday, Libya's Foreign Ministry issued a strongly worded statement saying it was not bound by the plan.

"We call on the concerned parties, the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, to negotiate with it (Libya) as soon as possible about the (judicial) arrangements," the ministry said in a statement read on Libyan state-run television.

The United States has said that the Lockerbie trial plan is not negotiable.

"While the Jamahiriyah (Libya) announces it accepts what came in the resolution on the trial of the two suspects in Holland ... (it calls) for negotiations on the arrangements and the necessary guarantees for the two suspects, directly or through the U.N. secretary-general or any other party agreed on," the statement said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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