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Monday, November 10, 2008

Libya Compensates US Victims of Lockerbie

10 November - The United States has resumed transferring more than $500 million in Libyan compensation money to families of American victims of 1988 Lockerbie bombing, a US official has announced.

Former arch-rivals, Libya and United States signed a pact to compensate 1980's bombings victims from both states, in a bid to restore full diplomatic ties between two countries.US diplomat for Middle East, David Welch said more money is on the way to complete settlement, but said $504-million of $536-million to be distributed to families was moved from US Treasury to a private account administered by Lockerbie families' lawyers on Friday.He said transfer represents first payout under an agreement reached by Washington and Tripoli in August to resolve US private lawsuits against Libya for alleged acts of terrorism.Agreement ended Libya's legal liability from multiple lawsuits of families of US victims and clears way for restoration of full diplomatic relations between Tripoli and Washington, according to official reports.

Under the deal, State Department said last month Libya had paid $1.5 billion into a fund to compensate US victims of suspected Libyan acts of violence. "Another $300 million was paid to compensate victims of US bombing of Libya in 1986," Mr Welch said.Mr Welch said he expected that a further $32 million would be distributed to other Lockerbie victims and roughly $283 million to families of Americans killed and injured in the 1986 bombing of the Labelle disco in Germany.

Analysts said Libya's payment into the fund cleared last hurdle in full normalisation of ties between Washington and Tripoli.

US-Libyan relations were restored in early 2004 after more than two decades, after Mr Gadaffi announced that Tripoli was abandoning efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.In 2006, US announced a full normalisation of ties, dropping Libya from a State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism and raising diplomatic relations to level of ambassadors.

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