SLUG: 2-311672 France / Libya (L)
TITLE=FRANCE/ LIBYA (S-ONLY)
INTRO: Libya has signed a deal to pay one-million dollars to each of the families of 170 people who were killed in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over the West African state of Niger. From Brussels, V-O-A's Roger Wilkison reports, the agreement paves the way for the normalization of French-Libyan relations, and furthers Libya's reconciliation with the international community.
TEXT: The deal, which was signed in Paris Friday by a representative of the victims' families and the director of a Libyan foundation, puts an end to a 15-year-old dispute between France and Libya.
The money involved is less than what Libya paid to relatives of the 270 victims of a U-S airliner that was downed over Scotland in 1988. But it is far more than the 34-million dollars contained in the original settlement of the French case in 1999.
The bombing of the French U-T-A airliner was blamed on six Libyans who were convicted in absentia by a French court. They remain at large.
Friday's accord will help Libya to improve its ties with western nations, after years of being considered a rogue state. Last month, the North African country renounced efforts to build weapons of mass destruction, and agreed to open its arms production facilities to international inspectors. (SIGNED)
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