Libya Dismisses U.S. Protest on SAM-5 Missiles

Associated Press

The Libyan regime Sunday dismissed U.S. protests over its acquisition of Soviet long-range anti-aircraft missiles and accused the United States of creating "a constant atmosphere of terror."

The Libyan news agency Jana said Washington's reaction to disclosures that the Soviet Union is installing SAM-5 missiles in this North African nation demonstrates "this tyrant approach in her policy."

State Department spokesman Joe Reap said in Washington on Friday, "The Libyan arsenal of Soviet equipment . . . clearly exceeds any legitimate security requirements the Libyans have."

The Libyan agency quoted Libya's Foreign Ministry on Sunday as saying, "America acts as if it had the right and means to attack others and protests against them if they possess means to defend themselves."

The Foreign Ministry said that among the purposes of the 150-mile-range missiles is the defense of the Gulf of Sidra. U.S. warplanes have made reconnaissance flights over the gulf, which Libya considers its territory but which the United States contends is international waters.

The Gulf of Sidra is where U.S. F-14 fighters shot down two Soviet-built Libyan warplanes in 1981. U.S. officials said the F-14s were attacked by the Libyan jets, but Libya denied it.

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