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Backgrounder: Major events in British-Libyan relations
www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-25 19:10:23

    BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhuanet) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli Thursday for a historical visit to the country, the first trip to the North African country by a British prime minister since World War Two.

    Following are the major events of British-Libyan relations in the past 20 years.

    April 1984 -- Britain suspects Libya was involved in shooting aBritish policewoman to death outside the Libyan embassy in London and accuses Libya of supporting the Irish Republican Army for terrorism and split. Britain severs its diplomatic relations with Libya.

    December 21, 1988 -- A Boeing 747 from Pan Am airline company crashes in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people on board. Britain and the United States believe Libyan intelligence officials were responsible for the crash after investigations.

    November 1991-- Britain and the United States issue a joint statement, demanding Libya's handing over of two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing and asking compensations for the losses.

    Early 1992 -- Britain, the United States and France submits a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, calling for sanctionsagainst Libya. Under the draft, the United Nations has the right to impose sanctions on Libya if the country refuses to extradite the six suspects who were accused of being involved in the bombingof a Pan Am airliner and two French airliners. On March 31, the UNSecurity Council decides to impose air, military and diplomatic sanctions on Libya.

    February 1993 -- Libya accepts the International Criminal Tribunal's verdict on the air crash in Lockerbie and agrees to turn the two suspects over to the United States and Britain for trial in exchange for lifting the sanctions.

    September 1994 -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi calls on the United States and Britain to negotiate with Libya for resolving the Lockerbie crisis.

    August 1998 -- Britain and the United States agree to try the two suspects in the Hague, the Netherlands.

    April 1999 -- The United Nations suspends the sanctions after the Libyan government handed over the two suspects. The two suspects later are extradited to the Netherlands for trial by a Scottish court.

    November 1999 -- The British government announces comprehensiveresumption of diplomatic relations with Libya.

    January 2001 -- Britain and the United States refuse to lift the sanctions against Libya and ask the Libyan government to take full responsibility for the Lockerbie air crash.

    September 2001 -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi expresses his hope to normalize relations with the United States and Britain.

    August 2003 -- The Libyan government officially accepts to takefull responsibility for Lockerbie and asks the United Nations to lift the 11-year sanctions as soon as Libya reaches accords with Britain and the United States. Libya also agrees to pay 2.7 billion US dollars to the relatives of the bombing victims after the sanctions are lifted.

    Feb. 6, 2004 -- British and US high-ranking officials hold talks with Libyan officials in London on dismantling Libya's banned weapons programs, improving the US-Libyan relations and lifting US sanctions against Libya.

    Feb. 9, 2004 -- Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam visits Britain, the first Libyan foreign minister to travel to Britain after Gadhafi took office in 1969.

    March 25, 2004 -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits Libya, the first trip to the North African country by a British prime minister since World War Two. Enditem

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