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Libya Rejects Compensation for Berlin Bomb Victims

Libyan officials failed to agree to paying compensation for victims of the 1986 bombing of the West Berlin nightclub La Belle during a fifth round of talks that ended Saturday, a German lawyer representing the victims said. A settlement would remove one of the remaining hurdles barring Tripoli from joining the EU's trade partnership with Mediterranean countries and set another step on the path towards ending the pariah status of the oil-rich country. Two American soldiers and a Turkish woman were killed and more than 200 other people wounded in the explosion at the disco, a popular nightspot for U.S. soldiers. German lawyers and members of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's charitable foundation have been negotiating a deal covering the over 160 non-American victims of the attack and the relatives of the Turkish woman. The lawyer negotiating for the victims said the talks were conducted in an "open and constructive atmosphere," and that the two sides had moved closer. Although negotiators have yet to settle on a final sum, the compensation figure could reach about $40 million. A German court ruled in 2001 the Libyan secret service was behind the bombing and convicted four people, including a former Libyan diplomat.

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