UN Ambassador: Libyan Sanctions Mark Change in View of Terrorism With AM-Flight 103-Libya, Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday the limited sanctions imposed on Libya over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 mark a change in the international community’s view of terrorism.
″The Security Council has taken jurisdiction in this case because it believes that these acts constituted threats to international peace and security,″ Thomas Pickering told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.
The U.N. Security Council narrowly approved the sanctions resolution on Tuesday. They are aimed at pressuring Libya’s leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, into turning over suspects in the bombing.
The sanctions, which go in effect April 15, ban weapons sales to Libya and impose a ban on international air links. But the restrictions will not stop Libya’s land and sea trade, which would limit export of its main source of income - oil.
Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., expressed concern over the United Nations intruding into a sovereign state because of its behavior and not because it had invaded another country.
″What kind of a precedent are we setting?″ Hamiltion said.
Pickering said the sanctions were imposed because Libya failed to comply with earlier U.N. resolutions. More important, however, the international community now considers terrorism a threat to peace.
″Snuffing out in an instance the lives of 441 innocent people in two civil airlines is now seen to be that kind of threat,″ said Pickering, who described it as an advance in international thinking.
The United Nations is pressuring Libya to turn over six suspects in the terrorist bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 and a French airliner in 1989. All total, 441 people from 32 countries died in the airliner bombings.
Hamilton questioned whether the sanctions go far enough since they have little impact on Libya’s oil export.
Pickering said the restrictions are appropriate for the allege crimes committed. In addition, the United States was trying to get the necessary votes on the Security Council.
The vote was 10-0, with five abstentions. It was one vote more than required.
Pickering said future sanctions, including those addressing Libya’s oil exports, are possible.
″We haven’t ruled anything in or out,″ the ambassador said.
On the issue of Iraq, Pickering and John Wolf, a deputy assistant secretary of State, said the nation continues to defy the Security Council’s resolutions.
Iraq also has renewed shelling of Kurdish villages, prompting Rep. Stephen Solarz, D-N.Y., to suggest the use of military force against Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein.
Solarz was a leading Democrat in support of military action in the Persian Gulf War.
″I very much hope that in one form or another we would take appropriate military action presumably with some of our coalition partners,″ said Solarz, who described inaction as ″morally unthinkable.″
Pickering reiterated what other administration officials have said that all options are open.