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Libya, Victims’ Relatives To Talk

September 19, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ Representatives of British families who lost relatives in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland were traveling to Tripoli on Saturday to talk to officials about plans to try two Libyan suspects.

Jim Swire, spokesman for U.K. Families Flight 103, and Robert Black, a law professor at Edinburgh University in Scotland, were expected in the Libyan capital Saturday.

``We were asked urgently to come to Tripoli by the Libyan mission in London,″ Swire said Saturday in Brussels, Belgium, where he and Black were awaiting their flight. The men were to meet with attorneys representing the two suspects.

Libya has accepted a proposal from the United States and Britain to try the suspects in the Netherlands by Scottish judges under Scottish law but is arguing about specifics.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi wants details of the proceedings and the treatment the suspects would receive once they are in Dutch custody, as well as assurances that the suspects will have the right of appeal.

Britain and the United States have rejected the Libyan demands for guarantees before the suspects are turned over.

Swire and Black were to fly to a Tunisian airfield near the border with Libya. From there, they planned to travel overland to Tripoli. The United Nations imposed a ban on travel to and from Libya in 1992 to try to force Gadhafi to surrender the suspects.

``The two sides are getting closer and I am very optimistic that the matter will be resolved,″ said Swire, whose daughter Flora was on Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The explosion killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

Under the U.S.-British plan, the suspects could not be extradited once they arrive in the Netherlands. But if convicted, they would have to serve their sentences in a British prison.

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