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Libya elected to seat on U.N. Security Council

October 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Libya won a U.N. Security Council seat Tuesday with no opposition from the Bush administration, slightly more than a year after the U.S. removed the African nation from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The U.S. decision not to support a rival African country for the seat angered families of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland -- some of whom watched the General Assembly vote from the visitors gallery.

Libya was blamed for the bombing as well as an attack on a disco in West Berlin that killed two American soldiers in 1986.

In 2003, Libya officially accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and reached a $2.7-billion settlement with families of the victims, though a portion has not been paid.

Relations between Washington and Tripoli have improved since Libya's surprise decision in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to dismantle its clandestine nuclear weapons program under international inspection.

The Bush administration said in May 2006 that it was resuming regular diplomatic relations with Libya for the first time in more than a quarter of a century. It removed Libya from the State Department's list of terrorism sponsors on June 30, 2006.

Alejandro Wolff, U.S. deputy ambassador to the U.N., would not reveal whether the United States voted for or against Libya, saying that the administration does not disclose that information.

Libya's U.N. ambassador, Giadalla Ettalhi, said the country received 178 "yes" votes in the 192-member General Assembly.

Libya was elected to a two-year term starting Jan. 1. It will join the council along with Vietnam, Burkina Faso, Croatia and Costa Rica.

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