- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) — President George W. Bush on Saturday extended a national emergency against Libya for another year that allows him to retain sanctions already in place against the northern African nation.

The emergency against Libya was first declared by President Ronald Reagan on Jan. 7, 1986, following Libyan-inspired attacks on U.S. targets worldwide. In March that year, Libyan militants were linked to the bombing of a Berlin nightclub popular with off-duty American soldiers, killing two and wounding dozens.

On Jan. 8, 1986, Reagan took additional measures to block Libyan assets in the United States. Four months later, American warplanes bombed government and military facilities in the predominantly Muslim country.

The incumbent U.S. president each year has extended the broad, unilateral sanctions against Libya. The United Nations added its own sanctions in 1992 after the country was linked to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The U.S. State Department has also listed Libya as one of seven states that sponsor terrorism.

"The crisis between the United States and Libya that led to the declaration on Jan. 7, 1986, of a national emergency has not been resolved," said a presidential prolamation issued by the White House.

Despite the United Nations Security Council's suspension of U.N. sanctions upon the Libyan government's surrender of the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects, Libya has not yet complied with its other obligations, which include accepting responsibility for the actions of its officials and paying compensation, President George Bush said in the proclamation.

"For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to Libya and maintain in force the comprehensive sanctions against Libya to respond to this threat," Bush said.

The United Nations eased its sanctions after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 1999 handed over two suspects in the Pan Am bombing for trial under Scottish law. One was acquitted, and the other, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, was found guilty by the court in The Hague, Netherlands, in January 2001.

In the last two years, Libyan and U.S. representatives have met, usually quietly, with the aim of improving ties — specifically, the eventual lifting of sanctions and the removal of Libya from the State Department's terrorist list.

U.S. analysts have indicated progress toward those goals, particularly in light of Libya's response and cooperation in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Gadhafi has led Libya since he and other military officers overthrew the monarchy in 1969 and forced out what they saw as foreign influences, ranging from military bases to West-supported libraries.

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