U.S. postpones lifting travel ban to Libya

By LOU MARANO  |  Feb. 24, 2004 at 3:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The United States has postponed the lifting of a travel ban to Libya until Tripoli retracts a controversial statement by its prime minister.

Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told the BBC his country does not accept guilt for the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people, or the death of London policewoman Yvonne Fletcher -- who was killed on April 17, 1984, by a shot that witnesses say came from the Libyan Embassy.

Ghanem said the admissions were made to end economic sanctions and bring peace.

"We would expect a retraction from the Libyan government," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, noting that Libya formally accepted responsibility for the airline bombing to the U.N. Security Council on Aug. 15, 2003.

The State Department canceled a briefing Tuesday at which it was expected that a 1981 restriction on the use of U.S. passports for travel to Libya would be lifted.

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