Vienna, 12 July 1997/P/K/15611

In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, strongly criticized the U.N. Security Council for its intransigent policy vis-à-vis the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Dr. Koechler referred to the "Presidential Statement" of Council President Peter Osvald related to the Council's reviewing session on 10 July. According to this Statement, "there was no agreement where the necessary conditions existed for modification of the measures of sanctions" established under Resolution 748 of 1992.

The President of the I.P.O. stated that the undemocratic privilege of the veto power enables the United States and the United Kingdom to continue the sanctions imposed on Libya indefinitely. This has led to a total paralysis of the Security Council when it comes to issues that are of vital interest to the permanent members of the Security Council. While Libya has agreed to a trial of the suspects in a neutral international framework -- in conformity with proposals presented by the League of Arab States and the Organization of African Unity --, the U.S. and the U.K. prevent this legal procedure from being implemented because of mere political considerations.

Dr. Koechler pointed to the fact that the international community -- indeed a majority of U.N. member states -- is in favour of a peaceful settlement of the Lockerbie dispute in conformity with internationally established legal principles. This is well documented by the voices of Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Kenya in the session of the Security Council last Thursday. These member countries acted on behalf of the Arab League and the OAU when they jointly raised their objections to the U.S. policy of confrontation in the Security Council.

The President of the I.P.O. expressed the view that the continuation of the sanctions régime imposed by some of the permanent members of the Security Council on the people of Libya not only technically violates basic instruments of international law (such as the Montral Convention), it contradicts the fundamental principles of human rights and the promotion of a peaceful international order as enshrined in the U.N. Charter and other international covenants. Dr. Koechler referred to the earlier declarations and recommendations of the International Committee of Legal Experts on the Libyan Sanctions established in 1992 by the I.P.O.