Kohl Links Libya to Disco Bombing but Cautions U.S.
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl today linked Libya to the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque but cautioned the United States against taking military action against Tripoli.
Kohl told a news conference that Bonn had many indications that Libya had a hand in the bomb attack last weekend, in which an American soldier was killed, but said he was wary of what the consequences of possible U.S. reprisals would be.
“If you introduce this term (reprisals) into the debate you must know what you are beginning and how you are going to get out of it at the end,” he said. “That would always be my advice despite all the sympathy I have for the enormous bitterness in America.”
His comments on Libyan involvement in the West Berlin blast, which also killed a Turkish woman and injured 204 people including 64 Americans, were the strongest yet from the Bonn government.
“There are a whole number of indications that the attack on the Berlin discotheque also had a Libyan background,” he said.
“Note that I said ‘also’ and not ‘only,’ ” Kohl said. He refused to elaborate but said the government would make more details public when experts completed analysis of the evidence.
West German officials said Bonn has information indicating that Libya’s mission in East Berlin may have been linked to the bombing.
Security sources said much of the evidence came from U.S. analysis of radio messages passed between the so-called People’s Bureaus (as Libya calls its embassies) before and after the attack.
2 Diplomats Expelled
Bonn expelled two Libyan diplomats earlier this week in a move aimed partly at placating U.S. pressure for reprisals following the Berlin attack.
The chancellor said he had great understanding for what he called the highly emotional response of the Americans to the Berlin bombing and a blast on a TWA plane last week in which four Americans were killed.
Kohl’s comments today came as two American aircraft carriers moved toward an expected rendezvous near the island of Sicily to await a final decision in Washington on whether to mount a military strike against Libya, sources in Washington told the Associated Press. The carriers Coral Sea and America were described this morning as nearing a point “where it won’t take long to form a battle group and move out.”
In Tripoli today, Col. Moammar Kadafi said his country is ready to attack any nation in southern Europe in response to a threat “from the whole of NATO,” the official Libyan news agency reported.
The JANA dispatch quoted the Libyan leader as saying the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was threatening civilian targets in his North African country.
“Since the threat this time came from the whole of NATO, the whole of southern Europe is today included in the Libyan counter-attack plan, without any discrimination,” Kadafi was quoted as saying.
Also today, Italy called for an urgent meeting of Common Market foreign ministers to develop a joint response to terrorism and heightened tensions in the Mediterranean, the Foreign Ministry said.