Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 - Libya

In April 1999, Libya took an important step by surrendering for trial the two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The move responded directly to the US-UK initiative; concerted efforts by the Saudi, Egyptian, and South African Governments; and the active engagement of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General. At yearend, however, Libya still had not complied with the remaining UN Security Council requirements: payment of appropriate compensation; acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials; renunciation of, and an end to, support for terrorism; and cooperation with the prosecution and trial. Libyan leader Qadhafi repeatedly stated publicly during the year that his government had adopted an antiterrorism stance, but it remained unclear whether his claims of distancing Libya from its terrorist past signified a true change in policy.

Libya also remained the primary suspect in several other past terrorist operations, including the La Belle discotheque bombing in Berlin in 1986 that killed two US servicemen and one Turkish civilian and wounded more than 200 persons. The trial in Germany of five suspects in the bombing, which began in November 1997, continued in 1999.

In 1999, Libya expelled the Abu Nidal organization and distanced itself from the Palestinian rejectionists, announcing that the Palestinian Authority was the only legitimate address for Palestinian concerns. Libya still may have retained ties to some Palestinian groups that use violence to oppose the Middle East peace process, however, including the PIJ and the PFLP-GC.


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