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U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing


14-15UN Report on Transfer of PanAm #103 Suspects / Clarifications & Conditions on Proposal

DPB #20
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1999, 1:10 P.M.


QUESTION: Another subject - have you all now seen the report or this agreement that the UN and South Africa and what not have arrived at with Libya on Pan Am 103?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we've seen all kinds of reports, especially over the last few days.

QUESTION: But you have not gotten a document from the UN? You have not been formally appraised of this?

MR. FOLEY: Not to my knowledge. I'm not aware that we've received any sort of confirmation.

QUESTION: Does that bother you at all?

MR. FOLEY: Well, it may be coming. I wouldn't rule out that some such confirmation may come. Look, we can take yes for an answer. If, indeed, Libya transfers the suspects to Secretary General Annan for Scottish trial in The Netherlands, we will be very pleased. Of course, we have been skeptical until now because Libya has dragged its feet and looked for excuses not to meet its obligations. But if, in fact, they do transfer the suspects, we will be pleased.

QUESTION: And you'll accept any conditions that are negotiated? I mean, there are some amazing conditions, which are being, at least, rumored to be part of this.

MR. FOLEY: Let me just, if I could, interrupt one moment to make clear that the United States and United Kingdom made it crystal clear that our offer was non-negotiable. Certainly, the United States will not support any changes in the offer. My understanding is that the Libyan authorities were seeking from the United Nations some kinds of clarifications, the details of which I don't know and I don't have before me. But clarifications are one thing; any change to the fundamentals of the US-UK proposal -- namely that the suspects be brought to The Netherlands for a Scottish trial for a trial and, if convicted, incarceration in Scottish prison - is, as I said, non-negotiable. We don't anticipate any changes.

QUESTION: There may a little bit of interpretation room within that phrase, you won't accept changes. But let me ask you a couple of things. If these guys were to demand a special wing of a Scottish jail for their place of incarceration, is that the kind of thing that you would accept?

MR. FOLEY: I'm really not in a position to go into those kinds of details. If there any clarifications that were sought and received, we would expect to be informed of them by Secretary General Annan. But I don't believe we received any such communication.

QUESTION: But you might consider clarifications; other people might consider conditions to -

MR. FOLEY: If we consider them not clarifications but changes to the offer, then they would not be acceptable to us.

QUESTION: Let me throw another one in.

MR. FOLEY: I'm not going to get into the details of the hypotheticals that you're raising. We'll have to see it when it comes.

QUESTION: Well, could you - I mean, you've said that you haven't received this yet. Have you inquired of the UN as to when you might expect to get it? I mean, I'm surprised -

MR. FOLEY: Maybe we have; I'm not aware of that, though. We just had a long weekend. As you know, these reports surfaced over the weekend. Today's the first day back. I'm sure we're in some communication with the UN, but I just don't have that.

QUESTION: If something comes out - I mean, if you find out something later in the day, could you sort of let us know?

MR. FOLEY: If it's something I can talk about, yes.

QUESTION: And let me just ask one more thing about this. I'm particularly interested about this point, which is also rumor, that there would be no attempt to embarrass or implicate the Libyan Government in any prosecution.

MR. FOLEY: I don't want to comment on details that I haven't seen, that we've not been officially informed of to my knowledge. As I said, we're not going to accept changes to our proposal. I'd rather not comment speculatively any further at this point.

QUESTION: But if you're in a position later in the day to talk about those things --

MR. FOLEY: If I am - if I'm in a position, then I will do so. But it may have to wait until tomorrow or whenever I'm in such a position.


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