US lifts trade sanctions

24 September 2004
US President Bush on 20 September signed an executive order lifting the bulk of the remaining trade sanctions against Tripoli, paving the way for payment of a further chunk of compensation to the families of victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The move follows the easing of sanctions in April in response to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's renunciation of his weapons of mass destruction programme and general international rehabilitation (MEED 30:4:04).

The lifting of the restrictions will permit direct scheduled and charter flights between the US and Libya and will recover about $1,300 million worth of assets frozen under the sanctions regime. Local companies will be able to benefit from US export credit programmes while US agricultural exports to the country will be eligible for government support. US firms have been keeping a close eye on opportunities opening up in the Libyan economy, particularly in the hydrocarbons sector, and US oil companies were well represented at the early September meetings about the latest oil and gas licensing round, known as EPSA-4, launched by National Oil Corporationin mid-August (MEED 17:9:04).

'We expect the families of the victims of flight 103 to receive over $1,000 million in additional compensation under their settlement,' the US State Department said in a statement. The final payment to the Lockerbie bombing victims is conditional on the removal of Tripoli from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism, which places an embargo on arms and certain other goods with potential military use.

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