AFP/Yahoo 'reports' below.
Failed to say where they got the $$$ to set up the
Libya agrees to compensation deal on UTA bombing:
TRIPOLI (AFP) - The Kadhafi Foundation headed by the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said that it has reached a compensation deal with the relatives of those killed in the bombing of a French airliner over Niger in 1989.After numerous meetings and negotiations over the past year with victims' families, "we have reached a compromise formula that is satisfactory for all parties," the foundation headed by Said al-Islam Kadhafi said in a statement.
The foundation stressed that it had "no link with the Libyan state", saying the agreement was "with only the families of the French victims" and that it was "not related to what is going on at the UN concerning the lifting of sanctions" clamped on Libya since 1992.Earlier Kadhafi himself announced on Libyan television that a compromise had been reached.
"(French) President (Jacques) Chirac called me earlier ... and we agreed to come to an understanding under the Kadhafi Foundation" to resolve the question of compensation, he said."We can say that the UTA affair and the Lockerbie affair are now behind us and that we are turning a page with France and the United States," he said.
"The money is of little importance to us, we have our dignity."Tripoli's London ambassador Mohammed al-Zuai earlier told AFP that Libya and representatives of the families of the victims had "arrived at a final accord satisfying both parties".
He said the deal was finalized during a telephone conversation between Chirac and Kadhafi.But in Paris, lawyers for the families said the deal had not yet been signed, and the French foreign ministry said it could not confirm an agreement had been reached.
One of the lawyers told AFP: "We are very, very close to an agreement, but everything has not yet been settled. A fair and satisfactory agreement in principle has been reached."Families returned empty-handed from Tripoli last week, where they had flown on a French government aircraft hoping to strike a deal with Libya to pay additional compensation for the 1989 bombing of a UTA civilian airliner over Niger.
Family representatives returned to Tripoli on Saturday to resume compensation talks."The families have already left for France," said Zuai, who was a member of the negotiating team which thrashed out the deal over the Lockerbie compensation.
"The details of the agreement will be announced tomorrow (Monday)," he added.Libya recently agreed to pay 2.7 billion dollars (2.4 billion euros) in compensation to the families of those killed when a Pan Am jet exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, in an effort to get the international community to lift trade sanctions against Tripoli.
But France has threatened to veto a British draft resolution lifting sanctions unless Tripoli agrees to pay the families of the 170 people who died in the bombing of the UTA DC10, also blamed on Libya, in light of the Lockerbie deal. Libya initially termed the French demand "blackmail", but recently suggested that a compromise offer for the UTA families might be possible.
In his speech Sunday, Kadhafi said that a number of foreign government officials had sought to persuade him recently to reached a settlement with France, including Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali and Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Libya has agreed to a compensation deal with the relatives of those
killed in the bombing of a French airliner over Niger in 1989,
according to Tripoli's London ambassador Mohammed al-Zuai.
EU | Africa | "Terrorism" | September 2003