UTA families hope for Libya deal Friday

8th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 8 (AFP) - Libya is to sign a compensation deal in Paris on Friday with families of victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi told AFP.


 


PARIS, Jan 8 (AFP) -  Libya is to sign a compensation deal in Paris on Friday with families of victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi told AFP.

"Tomorrow, the (Kadhafi) Foundation and the victims' families collective will sign an accord," said Seif al-Islam, head of the foundation which is representing Libya in the long-running case.

Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam is due to hold talks with his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin Friday, as hopes grew for a compensation deal for victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger.

Shalgam was to meet de Villepin at 4.00 p.m. and their talks would be followed by a joint news conference, the foreign ministry said. He was also to have meetings with law-makers in parliament and leaders of the business association Medef.

Earlier a spokesman for families of the 170 people killed in the UTA airliner bombing said he was hopeful that long-running negotiations for a compensation package could be wrapped up with a Libyan delegation that has been in Paris since Tuesday.

"We hope to reach a deal on Friday. Our discussions are constructive but there are still some major problems to resolve," said Guillaume Denoix de Saint-Marc.

Relatives have been demanding a pay-out comparable to the USD 2.7 billion (EUR 2.12 billion) Tripoli paid to the kin of those killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The two sides had reached an agreement in principle on September 11 on a financial package and as a result France lifted its threat to veto a UN resolution removing sanctions on Tripoli. But talks have faltered since.

Last month Libya surprised the international community by announcing it was giving up any ambitions it had of acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and would allow UN inspections of its nuclear sites.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said earlier this week that he would invite Shalgam to London for talks on WMD decommissioning.

© Edited reports from AFP

                                Subject: France news

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