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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

USIS Washington File

30 November 1999

Text: U.S. Official Notes "Definite Changes in Libya's Behavior"

(Still, Neumann says lifting of U.S. sanctions "would be premature")
(2240)
"We have seen definite changes in Libya's behavior, specifically in
declining support for terrorism and increasing support for peace
processes in the Middle East and Africa," Ambassador Ronald Neumann
said November 30 at the Middle East Institute. Neumann is deputy
assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs.
"The chief, current goal of the U.S. government with respect to Libya
is full compliance with the remaining U.N. Security Council
requirements. These requirements are payment of appropriate
compensation, cooperation with the Pan Am 103 investigation and trial,
acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and a
renunciation and end to support of terrorism and terrorist groups,"
Neumann stated.
"Any consideration of lifting U.S. sanctions before Libya has complied
fully with international demands would be premature," he added.
"Other sources of contention in U.S.-Libyan relations" include "Libyan
efforts to obtain missiles and weapons of mass destruction," the U.S.
official said. "We continue to want Libya to find a way to address
these concerns. For example, if Libya joined the Chemical Weapons
Convention, that would be a welcome step towards answering the
international community's concerns about Libya's WMD programs and a
further signal of Libyan willingness to establish positive relations
with other nations."
Following is the text of Neumann's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
(begin text)
Ronald E. Neumann:
Speech for Middle East Institute, November 30, 1999
Good morning. I welcome the opportunity to be part of this conference
on Libya. I understand it is the first time the Middle East Institute
has taken a broad look at what is happening there. It is certainly
timely to do so. Libya's surrender of the Pan Am 103 suspects for
trial and the ensuing suspension of international sanctions have
changed the political landscape of the last ten years. These
developments have brought justice closer for the families of the Pan
Am 103 victims. They have also prompted questions about whether Libya
has changed fundamentally.
We have long looked at Libya in stark terms, through the prism of
counter-terrorism. Almost since the beginning of Colonel Qadhafi's
regime in 1969, the U.S.- Libyan bilateral relationship has been one
of suspicion and hostility and, from both our and the international
community's point of view, with good reason. Since 1979, we have
designated Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism, and since 1986, we
have imposed on Libya comprehensive unilateral sanctions that allow
for virtually no commercial or financial interactions between Libya
and U.S. persons.
Today, I propose to discuss some of the most significant changes in
Libya's behavior we see, and to set them in the context of what we
believe still needs to be accomplished. I also want to contrast these
changes with the Libyan leadership's unchanged rhetoric.
Since the April surrender of the Pan Am 103 suspects, most of the
world has embraced Libya's return to the international community. Many
sub-Saharan African leaders had begun to do so before the suspects'
surrender, and the organization of African Unity had resolved not to
observe UN sanctions then imposed on Libya. Since April, others,
including many of our close European allies, have joined this chorus.
In recent months, Libya has hosted numerous commercial, trade and
political delegations from interested governments around the world.
Throughout this time, we have consistently urged our friends and
allies to exercise caution and to emphasize the need for changes in
Libyan behavior before it is reintegrated into the world community. We
have argued that Libya's past history of support for terrorism and
intervention outside its borders cannot simply be forgotten, and that
trust needs to be based on a consistent pattern of altered behavior
and concrete actions. We have argued that Libya has not yet fulfilled
all of the requirements set forth in the relevant UN Security Council
Resolutions, and that international legitimacy should wait, at the
very least, until Libya has complied with all these requirements.
In consulting with other nations, we have acknowledged the positive
steps that Libya has taken and some of the changes in Libya's public
posture. But the picture of Libya's current actions is only slowly
coming into focus, and our understanding of Libya's intentions or how
the Libyan government sees itself in the world remains quite unclear.
The most significant changes in Libya's behavior have been in its
declining support for terrorism. We welcome this. In April of this
year, after 10 years, Libya surrendered the Pan Am 103 bombing
suspects for trial before a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands.
This trial is set to begin on February 2, 2000. We were pleased and
gratified that our long-standing, extensive efforts to bring the
accused to trial were finally successful. The suspects surrender
represented a real achievement for UN and U.S. sanctions regimes and
for U.S. counter-terrorism policy and should bring some measure of
justice to the victims' families, as Secretary Albright had promised.
The suspects' surrender is also proof that when properly targeted and
strictly enforced, multilateral sanctions can work. I underline this
fact because stories about some behind-the-scenes deal are false. We
have no hidden agenda. We seek only to bring to justice those
responsible for the downing of Pan Am 103. We have imposed no
constraints on the prosecutor's freedom to pursue the evidence
wherever it leads.
By surrendering the suspects, Libya signaled its desire to begin the
process of getting out from under the UN sanctions regime. We welcomed
this very important step of turning over the suspects, which prompted
the suspension of UN sanctions. We subsequently met in New York with
Libyan representatives to the United Nations, along with British and
UN officials, to explain our view of what specific further Libyan
actions are necessary to meet all provisions of the Security Council
Resolutions, which would lead to the lifting of the UN-imposed
multilateral sanctions.
Since April, Libya has taken a number of other important steps to
reduce its support for terrorist groups and activities. Libya has
expelled the Abu Nidal Organization and all its members resident in
Libya. There is no longer an ANO presence or any ANO training camps in
Libya. We understand from press reports that the ANO has been upset by
the actions of the Libyan government and has even threatened to strike
back. As far as we can tell, the Libyan government's actions were not
window dressing, but a serious, credible step to reduce its
involvement with that terrorist organization. There are some
indications that Libya has taken certain steps, including new visa
restrictions, to prevent terrorists from entering Libya and using
Libyan territories as a haven. It is also clear that Libya shares the
concerns of its regional neighbors about Islamic extremists, including
Usama bin Ladin and his associates.
Libya has transferred its support from the Palestinian rejectionists
to the Palestinian Authority and Chairman Arafat. All Palestinian
groups resident in Libya have been informed that they are forbidden to
conduct any political or propaganda activities from Libya and that
they should work through the local PLO office. The Libyan government
has said it will address all its Palestinian related issues to
Chairman Arafat and his representatives. This new-found support for
the PA, especially at this critical time in the Peace Process, from
one of the original Arab rejectionist states should not be minimized.
I want to be clear on this point. The U.S. government welcomes Libyan
support for the PA and views it as a strong signal of Libya's
willingness to support the Peace Process.
While Libya's expulsion of ANO and support for the PA represent real
and constructive changes in Libya's Middle East policies, much of the
rhetoric that we see from Libya's leadership remains unchanged. As a
result, we are uncertain about Libya's real intentions.
In evaluating Libya's posture since the April surrender of Pan Am 103
suspects, we give priority to actions. This position is consistent
with the posture we have adopted in the Security Council. We have said
repeatedly that assurances of Libya's willingness to comply with
Security Council requirements are not enough. We want to see concrete
actions, before we can determine compliance. We are concerned by
Libya's inflammatory rhetoric, because of its potential to undermine
fragile peace processes in both Africa and the Middle East, and
because it suggests that the Libyan leadership may be fundamentally
anti-American, that is, committed to opposing American interests and
an American policy agenda, simply because they are American.
Given the history of the last three decades, rhetoric is bound to
invoke disturbing memories. On the other hand, over the weekend, the
Libyan government issued a statement in which it calls for "balanced
and stable relations between" Libya and the U.S. and looks forward to
a "positive spirit."
I have drawn for you a mixed picture, in which Libya has begun to take
important positive steps to renounce terror and support peace, but
continues to sound the bell of long-term opposition to the U.S.
Turning to what this mixed picture may mean for how Libya fits into
the world, I think we can expect that Libya's reintegration into the
international community will continue, whether we like it
or not, so long as Libya avoids new terrorism or blatant challenges to
the international order.
Libya is rapidly developing and enriching a range of bilateral
relationships. African and European states have steadily increased the
frequency and level of their political engagement with Libya. We
expect our European and other allies to use their renewed
relationships with Libya to urge improved Libyan behavior and
compliance with the remaining Security Council requirements. If,
however, Libya should backtrack on its positive steps on terrorism, we
expect -- and, indeed, would call upon -- our friends to respond
appropriately.
Libya is increasingly involved in multilateral fora. We ask these
institutions and their members to urge Libya to behave as a
responsible member of the world community, if it wishes to be treated
as such. Libya seeks a greater role for itself as a mediator in
regional conflicts, especially in Africa. We urge Libya to work
through the appropriate regional organizations, such as the
organization of African Unity, and put its significant resources to
the service of peace in the region.
There is some concern that Libyan efforts will provide an alternative
to regional conflict resolution processes and mechanisms already in
place. In Sudan, for example, we want to ensure that the recently
proposed Egyptian-Libyan Initiative is coordinated with the ongoing
IGAD process that includes Sudan's sub-Saharan neighbors. We do not
want to see parties to conflict in Sudan or elsewhere play off outside
mediators in order to leverage additional funds and arms or gain
concessions. We do recognize that many neighbors have an interest in
Sudan and we are coordinating closely with Egypt.
I have not yet addressed the topic that may be of greatest interest to
the audience: the future of U.S.-Libya relations. Until the surrender
of the Pan Am 103 suspects for trial, any change in U.S.-Libyan
relations was unimaginable. While change can now be imagined, it is
not necessarily a near-term likelihood.
The chief, current goal of the U.S. government with respect to Libya
is full compliance with the remaining UN Security Council
requirements. These requirements are payment of appropriate
compensation, cooperation with the Pan Am 103 investigation and trial,
acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and a
renunciation and end to support of terrorism and terrorist groups.
If Libya complies fully with all these requirements, it will have met
the demands of the Security Council. We have said consistently that
Libya can and should comply with these requirements. This remains
true. On the other hand, U.S. unilateral sanctions were imposed in
response to Libya's support for terrorism before the international
sanctions came into being. Any consideration of lifting U.S. sanctions
before Libya has complied fully with international demands would be
premature.
While U.S. sanctions were imposed because of concerns about Libyan
support for terrorism, there have been other sources of contention in
U.S.-Libyan relations over the past three decades, including Libyan
efforts to obtain missiles and weapons of mass destruction. Indeed,
Libya continues to pursue programs for the acquisition of WMD and
missiles, which would threaten U.S. interests, and we continue active
efforts to impede them. We continue to want Libya to find a way to
address these concerns. For example, if Libya joined the Chemical
Weapons Convention, that would be a welcome step towards answering the
international community's concerns regarding Libya's WMD programs and
a further signal of Libyan willingness to establish positive relations
with other nations.
That said, Libya is not Iraq. We do not seek to maintain sanctions
until there is a change of regime in Tripoli. We have seen definite
changes in Libya's behavior, specifically declining support for
terrorism and increasing support for peace processes in the Middle
East and Africa. We hope such changes signal Libya's willingness to
behave as a responsible member of the international community. We
would welcome a Libya that complied with all aspects of all UNSCR
conditions, that refrained from the use of terror or support for
terrorist groups to pursue its agenda, that abjured WMD and that
helped to bring about peaceful resolutions to regional conflicts.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)



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