The United States, Britain and France have decided to seek a U.N. Security Council resolution calling upon Libya to cooperate in bringing those responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 to justice, State Department officials said Thursday night.
According to U.S. sources, the proposed resolution probably will probably be presented to the Security Council next week.
The resolution does not ask for the imposition of any economic sanctions against Libya. But a State Department official said Thursday night that the measure does not preclude the United States, Britain and France from seeking U.N. sanctions or some other punitive action later on.
"You get the endorsement of the Security Council to get Libya to comply with the demands" of the three Western governments, the State Department source said. "And if Libya doesn't comply, then you go for further steps."
The three nations demanded in November that Libya turn over intelligence agents said to be responsible for planting the bombs that caused a Pan Am jetliner to explode and crash in Lockerbie, Scotland, in December, 1988, and a French UTA jet to crash in Niger in 1989. The Pan Am crash caused the loss of 270 lives; 171 died in the French plane accident.
Last fall, authorities in the United States and Britain filed criminal charges against two Libyans accused of responsibility for the Pan Am bombing. France has issued arrest warrants for four Libyan intelligence officials accused of involvement in the UTA bombing.
U.S. officials acknowledged that the three Western governments had earlier sought to win U.N. backing for a resolution drafted by France that would have imposed sanctions against Libya, including a halt in all commercial flights to and from Libya. But they suggested this effort fell through when it became clear that the resolution would not now get the support of Third World countries--apparently including China, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.