- The government of Libya has started paying compensation to the families of the victims of terror actions attributed to Tripoli in the 1980s. Libya however still does no recognise responsibilities for the acts.
Payouts have started to the families of the victims of the terror act at a Berlin discotheque in 1986 and of the bombing of a PanAm flight over Scottish Lockerbie in 1988. Both terror acts have been attributed to the Libyan government by Western police and secret services.
The Tripoli government however never officially has recognised its responsibility for these two terror attack, and other attacks attributed to Libyan leader Moammar Ghadaffi. In its efforts to normalise relations to the West, Libya nevertheless entered negotiations that ended in agreements to extradite Libyan suspects and to pay compensations to the terror victims. In European trials, evidence of Libyan government involvement into the terror acts proved heavy.
According to press reports, Libyan payments to terror victims' families will amount to around US$ 1.8 billion. But neither Western nor Libyan authorities want to elaborate on the exact amount, as this would further imply a confession of guilt by the Libyan government.
At this moment, neither part is interested in complicating diplomatic ties. Starting with Europe and now including the US, Western diplomatic and economic ties with Libya have boomed over the last few years. All major Western countries have sent high officials to Libya, from the Prime Ministers of the UK and Spain to the President of France and the recent visit of Washington's Condoleezza Rice.
Libya has emerged an ever more important oil and gas producer, in particular on the European market, as a consequence of these renewed diplomatic ties. Little questions have been asked about the pathetic state of human rights in Libya, and regarding the terror attacks of the 1980s, Western states have been happy with compensation rather than a confession.
The families of the terror attack victims now finally are receiving compensation, but cannot still expect an apology. For Western diplomats, however, the case is now closed.
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