Libya denies Lockerbie airplane bombing


NEW YORK — Libya has denied any involvement in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am aircraft which killed 270 people, disclaiming charges made against it on November 14 by the United States and Britain which raised the possibility of armed retaliation.

In a press release issued here by Libya's permanent mission to the United Nations, the country's People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation expressed "great astonishment" at the British and US statements.

The statement categorically denied a Libyan link with the incident or any knowledge of it by the Libyan authorities.

Amid speculation here of possible military action against Libya, the statement urged the United States and Britain to refer the issue to "neutral international committees of inquiry" or to the International Court of Justice.

"A small and developing country like Libya, when accused by major countries like the United States of America and Britain, retains its total right to defend itself before an impartial and neutral judiciary body, before the United Nations, before the International Court of Justice and others", it said.

The Libyan indictment was announced by US government officials in Washington.

Libya, however, said, "no contact was established [by the US] with the appropriate judicial authorities in Libya to seek clarification and verification of these accusations".

It added, "The language of threat does not respond to modern realities and the alternative to that is dialogue, evidence and logic".

According to a New York Times report on November 15, "The indictments also stood as a statement of policy toward Libya and signalled a new round of tensions in the long-volatile Libyan-American relationship".

In 1986, US aircraft bombed Libya shortly after Washington accused Tripoli of being responsible for the terrorist bombing of a West Berlin discotheque frequented by US military personnel.
[From Inter Press Service/Pegasus.]

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