State Sponsors of Terrorism - Libya

The end of 1996 marked the fifth year of the Libyan regime's refusal to comply with the demands of UN Security Council Resolution 731. This measure was adopted following the indictments in November 1991 of two Libyan intelligence agents for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. UNSCR 731 ordered Libya to turn over the two Libyan bombing suspects for trial in the United States or the United Kingdom, pay compensation to the victims, cooperate in the ongoing investigations into the Pan Am 103 and UTA Flight 772 bombings, and cease all support for terrorism.

UN Security Council Resolution 748 was adopted in April 1992 as a result of Libya's refusal to comply with the demands of UNSCR 731. UNSCR 748 imposed sanctions that embargoed Libya's civil aviation and military procurement efforts and required all states to reduce Libya's diplomatic presence. In November 1993 UNSCR 883 was adopted, imposing additional sanctions against Libya for its continued refusal to comply with UNSC demands. UNSCR 883 included a limited assets freeze and a ban on sales of some oil technology to Libya and strengthened existing sanctions in other ways.

By the end of 1996 Qadhafi had yet to comply in full with the UNSC demands. He did, however, allow a French magistrate to visit Libya in July to further his investigation of the 1989 bombing of UTA 772. As a result of that investigation, France has issued a total of six arrest warrants­two in 1996­for Libyan intelligence officers, who are still at large.

Tripoli continues to deny any involvement in Pan Am 103 and has made no attempt to comply with the UN resolutions. Most significantly, it still refused to turn over for trial in the United States or the United Kingdom the two Libyan agents indicted for the Pan Am bombing. In response to continued Libyan and Iranian support for terrorism, the US Congress passed the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. This Act imposes new sanctions on companies that invest in the development of either country's petroleum resources. The law is intended to help deny revenues that could be used to finance international terrorism.

In addition to the Pan Am and UTA airliner bombings, Libya continues to be held responsible for other terrorist acts of the past that retain current interest. In October 1996 warrants were issued by German authorities for four Libyans who are suspected of initiating the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing that killed two US citizens. The four are believed to be in Libya. Also, Libya is widely believed to be responsible for the 1993 abduction of prominent Libyan dissident and human rights activist Mansur Kikhia. The current whereabouts of Kikhia, a US green card holder, remains unknown.

Libya also continued in 1996 to provide support to a variety of Palestinian terrorist groups, including the Abu Nidal organization (ANO), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Ahmed Jabril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine¡General Command (PFLP­GC). The ANO maintains its headquarters in Libya, where the group's leader, Sabri al­Banna (a.k.a. Abu Nidal) resides.

Source: Excerpted from Patterns of Global Terrorism 1996, U.S. State Department