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U.S. Official Visits

A/S David Welch (August 14, 2008)

Washington, DC, August 14, 2008

U.S. - Libya Joint Statement - Comprehensive Claims Settlement Agreement

Below is the text of a joint statement by the United States and Libya issued today in Tripoli, Libya following the August 14 signing of a comprehensive claims settlement agreement.

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The United States and Libya concluded a comprehensive claims settlement agreement on August 14 in Tripoli. Both parties welcomed the establishment of a process to provide fair compensation for their respective nationals, and thereby turn their focus to the future of their bilateral relationship. They also underscored the benefits an expansion of ties would provide for both countries as well as for the American and Libyan peoples.

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United States Embassy
Tripoli, Libya
August 14, 2008

Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch at the Signing of a Comprehensive Claims Settlement Agreement

“Good afternoon.  Dr. Fituri, thank you very much.  To all my Libyan colleagues, so many of whom who worked so hard for so long to reach this day, I also wish to extend you my gratitude.


“Ladies and gentlemen, today the United States and Libya concluded a comprehensive settlement of claims between our two countries.  This will turn a new page in our relationship.

“The agreement that we signed today is designed to resolve the last major historical issue that has stood in the way of a more normal relationship between our two countries. 

“Under this agreement, each country’s citizens can receive fair compensation for past incidents.  When fulfilled, the agreement we signed today will permit Libya and the United States to move ahead in developing their relations, which both Libya and the United States agree is an important national interest.

 “The conclusion of this agreement has been made possible also by action by the American Congress, which passed a new law that President Bush signed on August 4.

“Yesterday, when I met with Leader Qhadafi, I conveyed the best wishes of the American government and the President of the United States on this occasion, and conveyed a message from the President to the Leader.

“I am optimistic that this agreement will be implemented quickly.  If so, it will mark the completion of a process that began in 2001, that has already seen Libya take steps forward as a model among nations to renounce terror and weapons of mass destruction.

“As I said, today marks an important day.  We look forward to developing this relationship in every aspect, and to putting U.S-Libyan relations on a sound basis in the interests of the peoples of both countries.

 “Thank you very much.”

Press Statement
Robert Wood, Acting Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 14, 2008

Claims Settlement

On August 14, 2008, the United States and Libya signed a comprehensive claims settlement agreement in Tripoli.

The agreement is designed to provide rapid recovery of fair compensation for American nationals with terrorism-related claims against Libya. It will also address Libyan claims arising from previous U.S. military actions. The agreement is being pursued on a purely humanitarian basis and does not constitute an admission of fault by either party. Rather, pursuant to the agreement an international Humanitarian Settlement Fund will be established in Libya to collect the necessary resources for the claims on both sides. No U.S. appropriated funds will be contributed, and any contributions by private parties will be voluntary. Each side will be responsible for distributing the resources it receives to its own nationals and to ensure the dismissal of any related court actions.

The U.S. Congress has supported this initiative by passing the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, which was signed into law by the President on August 4. The law authorizes the Secretary of State to immunize the assets of the Humanitarian Settlement Fund so they will reach the intended recipients. The law also provides that Libya’s immunity from terrorism-related court actions will be restored when the Secretary of State certifies that the United States has received sufficient funds to pay the Pan Am 103 and La Belle Discotheque settlements and to provide fair compensation for American deaths and physical injuries in other pending cases against Libya. The resources under the agreement are expected to be sufficient to fulfill further purposes such as additional recoveries for death and physical injury because of special circumstances, claims for emotional distress, and terrorism-related claims by commercial parties.

To ensure a successful outcome to this initiative, the final remaining steps are to establish the Humanitarian Settlement Fund and for it to assemble the necessary resources