Libya says it has agreed to a compensation deal with relatives of 170 people killed in the 1989 bombing of a UTA airliner. Has this leopard changed its spots?

Paris would not confirm the deal with Gaddafi, although Colonel Gaddafi said in a statement:
“The problem over the UTA case is over and the Lockerbie case is now behind us. We are opening a new page in our relations with the West.” Colonel Gaddafi did not admit Libyan guilt in the speech, which marked the anniversary of a coup which bought him to power 34 years ago.

The French foreign ministry said it could not yet confirm that a deal had been reached, although it said constructive negotiations were continuing. Lawyers representing the families of bombing victims adopted a similar position.

“We are very, very close to an agreement, but everything has not yet been settled. A fair and satisfactory agreement in principle has been reached,” Francis Szpiner, one of the lawyers, told AFP news agency.

Tripoli’s ambassador to London, Mohammed al-Zuai, said the deal was finalised in a telephone conversation between French President Jacques Chirac and Colonel Gaddafi.

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