Families of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 today called on the Bush Administration to hold Libya fully accountable for an agreement the Libyan government reached with the victims’ families three years ago. The families were joined by a bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators at a Capitol Hill press conference, after an afternoon meeting with State Department officials.
“This Libyan regime has put our families through the worst pain imaginable. No settlement will ever take away our grief or anger, but this settlement is the only form of justice meted against the Libyan regime. They must fulfill the obligations they made to our families and pay it in its entirety,” said Kara Weipz, the president of Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, who lost her brother in the bombing.
Under a 2003 agreement, Libya took responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and agreed to a settlement with the families to avoid going to trial. While 80 percent of the settlement has been paid, the remaining 20 percent was to be paid to the families upon Libya’s removal from the list of designated state sponsors of terror. On May 12, 2006, President Bush started the 45 day process to remove Libya from the list. Since then, Libya has made no public comment on their intent to pay. The families have been urging the Bush Administration and the State Department to take an active role in pressuring the Libyans to live up to the commitment they made and resolve this issue.
“We understand the diplomatic realities facing the State Department, but we need the State Department to understand the frustration of our families,” said Weipz. “Our government should be fighting for us, not making excuses for the Libyans.”
At the press conference on Wednesday, Members of the U.S. House and Senate joined with dozens of families who lost loved ones on Flight 103. Congressman Michael Ferguson (R-NJ) and Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) released a letter they are sending to President Bush urging him to push Libya to resolve this issue. The letter is co-signed by more than 65 Members of the House of Representatives.
“We appreciate Senator Frank Lautenberg, Congressman Andrews, Congressman Ferguson, and the many other Members of Congress who have stood by our families. Their support means so much to us, and we are confident they will do everything in their power to ensure that Libya fulfills its commitments,” said Weipz.