Upton Supports Lockerbie Compromise

  • Simon Upton
Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand has welcomed the announcement by Britain and the United States that they will agree to the Lockerbie bombing trial being held in the Netherlands, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Upton said today.

Two Libyans are suspected of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded and crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, killing all 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground.

The Libyan Government has refused to agree to a trial anywhere except in a neutral country, while Britain and the US have insisted that the suspects should be tried on British or American soil.

Yesterday, Britain and the US announced that they would agree to holding the trial in the Dutch capital, The Hague, under a Scottish court, with a panel of three Scottish High Court judges in place of a jury.

"New Zealand strongly supports this compromise proposal," Mr Upton said. "It is vital that suspected terrorists should be brought to trial. This matter has already dragged on for almost a decade. That is far too long for the families of the Lockerbie victims to wait for a resolution."

The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on Libya since April 1992 because of the Libyan Government's refusal to hand over the two suspects. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has reportedly welcomed the British and American proposal as a way of resolving the long-standing impasse with Libya.