UTA talks break down

21 October 2003
Talks between the French and Libyan governments aimed at securing additional compensation for the families of victims of the 1989 UTA plane bombing, which killed 170 over Niger, broke down on 20 October. Tripoli, which has never accepted liability for the incident, says France must first agree to pay compensation, which Libya claims France consented to in mid September, for its involvement in the Libya-Chad conflict in the 1980s. 'We will not resume negotiations without acceptance of that commitment,' said Libyan chief negotiator Saif al-Islam, son of leader Muammar Gaddafi. 'They should accept the commitment or [there will be] no negotiations any more.' Al-Islam, who heads the Gaddafi Cultural Foundation, added that 'there is something between the French and the Libyans and we are ready to negotiate with them - but if they completely deny the commitment, this would be a pity.' France denies any knowledge of the agreement.

France called on the Libyan government to pay additional compensation to the UTA victims' families after a $2,700 million deal was reached between Tripoli and the families of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. A French court found six Libyans, including leader Muammar Gaddafi's brother-in-law, guilty in absentia of the bombing. Libya offered $33 million to each family of the victims after the trial (MEED 13:10:03).

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