REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
“THE CRISIS BETWEEN THE GREAT SOCIAliST PEOPLE’S liBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA AND THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED KINGDOM ON THE OTHER”
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU – BURKINA FASO, 28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
- The Islamic world received with deep satisfaction the news the successful outcome of the persistent efforts made by various Islamic and international parties, particularly, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Africa and the UN Secretary General since the month of January 1999, which raised the hope in the possibility of reaching an agreement between the Socialist People’s libyan Arab Jamahiriya on the one hand and the United States, the United Kingdom and France on the other concerning the crisis that has been festering between them since 1990 after Western alleged as to libyan Government’s involvement in the blowing up of the Pan American airline, flight 103, over Lokerbie in Scotland and that of UTA aeroplane in its flight over the Tevere desert in Niger.
- The Secretary General had undertaken close contacts over this crisis since it broke out and addressed messages to the heads of State and Government of the United States, the United Kingdom and France about his contacts with the libyan Government which has reaffirmed its categorical rejection of the charges, denounced terrorism and declared its commitment to combating it and to ensuring the security of civil aviation.
- In continuation of these efforts, the Islamic Conferences accorded particular attention to this issue and included it as a separate agenda item since the Sixth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference which was held in Dakar in 1991.
- The Sixth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference issued, with respect to this crisis, Resolution N. 20/6P(IS), in which it expressed its concern over the escalation of the crisis and the threats of use of force, in contradiction with the spirit of international principles for interaction among states dealings as well as with the UN Charter and international law. The resolution, furthermore, called for abidance by international conventions and resort to dialogue and negotiation for the settlement of disputes among States.
- The Conference also expressed satisfaction at libya’s cooperation with any quarters fighting and working to eliminate terrorism. It commended the sound way in which it had dealt with the western threats directed against its security and territorial integrity. The Conference reaffirmed its full solidarity with libya and called for averting any economic or military measures by western states against libya.
- The Security Council adopted resolution No. 731 (1992) requesting the libyan Government to cooperate in identifying the responsibility for these tragic events.
- The Secretary General made intensive efforts in following up the implementation of the above resolution in favour of a peaceful solution to the crisis through dialogue and negotiation. He maintained close contact with the libyan Government and received from it repeated assurances of its readiness to cooperate fully with any party that would guarantee impartial investigations in favour of bringing to light the truth of the crisis and achieving a conclusive solution thereto. The Secretary General noted also that the libyan Government, over and above the legal measures it has adopted regarding the crisis, has also expressed to him its readiness to cooperate with the concerned parties so that the truth may be brought to light conclusively through objective and impartial inquiries and investigation.
- The Security General maintained close contacts with the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, France and other international and regional organisations as well as with the Secretary General of the United Nations and apprised them of the relevant Islamic resolutions adopted by the Sixth Islamic Summit Conference.
- The Secretary General called on all parties to explore other avenues for resolving this issue peacefully so as to prevent the western states from carrying out punitive measures against libya.
- Despite these efforts by the OIC as well similar efforts at mediation by the League of Arab States and other international and regional organisations in a drive to achieve a prompt and peaceful resolution of the crisis, several adverse developments have still been witnessed which have contributed to the issue’s escalation; among these developments was the imposition of international sanctions against the Jamahiriya by virtue of Security Council Resolution 748 (1992).
- In another development, the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, imposed sanctions on libya, including a ban on all forms of aircraft flights, a ban on arms materials as well as proscription of all technical and training assistance in the military field.
- In the face of the immense hardships faced by the people of libya due to the heavy weight of the sanctions imposed by Security Council Resolution 748 (1992), the Secretary General stepped up his contacts with Security Council’s President and members and conveyed to them on several occasions the OIC’s concern because of those sanctions, and reminded the Council members and conveyed to them on several occasions the OIC’s concern because of those sanctions, and reminded the Council members on many occasions of libya’s offer to hand over the suspects allegedly involved in the Lockerbie accident for trial in a neutral country, which constitutes a concrete evidence of libya’s commitment to finding a just and honourable solution to the crisis. The Secretary General repeatedly urged the Security Council to take expeditious steps for the lifting of sanctions against the Jamahiriya. The Secretary General also expressed the hope that the Security Council will take into account the ongoing efforts of the Arab Maghreb Union and the League of Arab States and will allow enough time for the success of these efforts.
- Within the framework of these continued efforts, the Secretary General addressed several letters to the U.S. Secretary of State in which he noted that continued confrontation with libya would heighten the tension on account of the Security Council’s rushing to impose sanctions on libya. He pointed out that sanctions escalate the crisis and would not serve any regional or international interests.
- The Twenty-first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers decided to entrust its Chairman along with the Secretary General with making the necessary contacts with the competent Security Council authorities, and seeking permission to libyan air-craft to use international airspace during the Haj season so as to enable the Arab libyan people to go to the Holy Places and perform Haj. The Conference requested its Chairman and the Secretary General to follow up this matter and report thereon to the Member States. In implementation of the above-mentioned resolution the Chairman of the Twenty-first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and the Secretary General undertook prompt contacts with the Security Council and the U.N. Secretary General as well as with the Security Council Chairman and members.
- The Seventh Islamic Summit Conference and the Seventh Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers declared support for the proposal contained in Resolution No. (R.5373-A.S. (101)-3 adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States on 27 March, 1994 calling for a just trial of the suspects by Scottish Judges in accordance with the Scottish Law at the Headquarters of the International Court of Justice, in the Hague and urging the Security Council to reconsider the crisis. They also called on the Security Council to review its Resolutions 748 and 883 on the crisis and take into consideration the Arab League’s proposal in the hope of achieving a peaceful solution so as to prevent any escalation of the crisis which would increase the tension in the region.
- The OIC Annual Coordination Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on October 2, 1997 expressed support for the proposal contained in the declaration of the Thirty-third Summit of OAU Heads of State and Government, held in Harare, Republic of Zimbabwe in June 1997 which was adopted in collaboration with the League of Arab States. It called on the Security Council to adopt one of the three options contained in the said proposal which is apt to ensure a peaceful, just and final solution to the problem and to help alleviate the suffering of the libyan Arab people resulting from the sanctions imposed on it.
- The Eighth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference and Twenty-fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, adopted its Resolutions in which it reaffirmed all the relevant resolutions of Islamic Conferences including its solidarity with the Great Socialist People’s Arab Jamahiriya. It supported the efforts exerted by the League of Arab States and the Organisation of African Unity to persuade the Security Council to accept one of the three options which they proposed jointly to the Council for the trial of the two libyan suspects. The Conference appealed to the Security Council to lift the embargo imposed upon the Jamahiriya and in this respect, urged the OIC Member States to intervene promptly with the Security Council in order to facilitate libyan flights for humanitarian and religious purposes and visits of official libyan delegations, in conformity with international law.
- The Eighth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference and Twenty-fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers recommended the creation of a Tripartite Coordinating Committee comprising the League of Arab States, the Organisation of African Unity and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, to take appropriate steps with the UN Security Council in order to look into the modalities for lifting the sanctions imposed on the Jamahiriya and supported the Great Jamahiriya’s right to demand appropriate reparations for the human and material losses resulting from application of the Security Council resolutions and from the sanctions imposed against it.
- In his desire to gain a first-hand insight into the hardships and difficulties endured by the libyan people, the Secretary General visited the libyan Arab Jamahiriya in May 1997 during which he was received by H. E. Mumar Al-Qadafi, Leader of Al-Fatih of September Revolution. He listened to the view-point of the Jamahiriya vis-à-vis this crisis.
- The Islamic Group at the United Nations pursued with particular attention the recent developments of the Lockerbie issue, and H. E. the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN submitted a message, in his capacity as Chairman of the Islamic Group, to the Chairman of the Security Council Ambassador, on those developments, expressing the Islamic Group’s appreciation of the flexibility and sensible manner in which the libyan Arab Jamahiriya dealt with the issue since the beginning of the crisis underlying it. He also expressed the Islamic Group’s profound esteem for the efforts put in by H. E. Mr. Kofi Annan and by the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Africa along with other mediators, for the purpose of achieving an agreement that was accepted by the parties concerned and which secured a peaceful, comprehensive and conclusive solution to the crisis.
- In his message, the Chairman of the Islamic Group referred to the resolutions and recommendations adopted in this respect by the Eighth Islamic Summit Conference, the Twenty-fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and the Annual Coordination Meeting of the Islamic States’ Foreign Ministers which was held in New York in October 1998. He also made reference to the message addressed by the Chairman of the Jamahiriya’s People’s General Committee for External Communication and International Cooperation, Mr. Omar Al Muntaser, to the UN Secretary General on 19 March 1999, under Ref. No. (S/1999/311), in addition to his reference to the substance of the message addressed by the Secretary General to the Chairman of the Security Council, on 5-4-1999 (Ref. No. 5/1999/378).
- In the afore-mentioned message in question, the Islamic Group noted the prompt and unanimous response of the UN Security Council to the recent libyan step, through the issue of a press communiqué on the matter on 5th April 1999, which was followed by another press communiqué on the 8th of the same month, by virtue of which all action imposed against the Jamahiriya was suspended as of the date of the two press communiqués.
- The Islamic Group pointed out that the Security Council should have issued, further to the above-stated communiqués, a decision for the matter to be placed within the framework of its proper legal perspective. The Islamic Group requested the Council to promptly issue a resolution for a conclusive lifting of the sanctions against libya which cooperated fully with the international community on this issue and has honoured all its commitments within the framework of the Security Council Resolutions No. 731 (1992), 748 (1992), 883 (1993) and 1192 (1998) including the demands annexed to Resolution 731 (1992).
- The Islamic Group also pointed out that the issue has now become a legal matter in the hands of the Scottish Court of Justice, with the consent of all concerned parties, that attempts to politicize any legal difference in this connection, b y any party or through any form, is unacceptable, and that all parties need to uphold whatever decisions are reached by the Scottish Court of Justice currently in session in Holland. The Islamic Group requested the United Nations to circulate its message as one of the Security Council’s documents.
- The Secretary General expressed satisfaction and welcomed the Security Council’s resolution to allow libyan pilgrims to travel by air to the holy land to perform the Haj for the Year 1419H (1999), s well as the news concerning the achievement of an agreement to end the Lockerbie crisis thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Africa. In view of these positive developments, the Secretary General is continuing his efforts to urge the Security Council for more flexibility and rescinding manoeuvres against libya in the light of the cooperation shown by libya in particular with the other parties, in preparation for reaching an appropriate solutions to the problem.
- The Secretary General also expressed his deep satisfaction with the recent developments witnessed in the Lockerbie issue, particularly libya’s handling over of the two libyans suspected of having blown up the Pan American Aeroplane on its flight No. 103 over the city of Lockerbie in Scotland in 1990. He considered this step a genuine reflection of the libyan Government’s credibility and cooperation with regard to the issue since its onset.
- In affirmation of this interest, the Secretary General delegated on 9 April, 1999, Ambassador Ibahim Bakr, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs to represent the OIC in the official procedures of the hand-over of the libyan suspects at the airport of Tripoli to the Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs of the UN Secretary General’’ personal representative. The hand-over ceremony was attended by the Assistant Secretaries General of the UN, the League of Arab States and the OAU as well as representative of the Non-aligned Movement, States and Governments who were offered the privilege during their visit, to meet with H. E. Colonel Moamer Al-Qadafi, Leader of the September Ist Revolution who gave them a review of the latest developments of the issue and expressed deep thanks for the efforts put in by their Organisations which have contributed to the achievement of this important development.