US President George W Bush has signed into law legislation paving the way for Libya to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate US victims of bombing attacks that Washington blames on Tripoli.
The Libyan Claims Resolution Act clears the way to resolve all outstanding US claims related to what Washington regards as Libyan terrorist acts.
These include the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people and the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco that killed three people and wounded 229.
“For too many years, Libya has refused to accept responsibility for its horrific acts of terrorism against American victims,” said Senator Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who sponsored the original legislation to allow compensation.
“But after the pressure we applied, Libya will finally be held accountable for these devastating events.
“Our bill becoming law means these victims and their families can get the long overdue justice they deserve.”
The United States and Libya worked out a tentative deal to resolve all the outstanding cases.
Libya has yet to sign the agreement but US officials said they expected it to do so after the deal was signed into US law.
Mr Bush signed the bill before leaving Washington on a week-long visit to Asia.