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Germany

Libya Sets Demands in Berlin Bomb Compensation Talks

Libyan officials negotiating compensation to victims of a 1986 bomb attack in Berlin are demanding money for victims of German World War II mines as well as the extradition of Libyan opposition members.

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Has Gadhafi changed course on the matter?

Hussin Akeel, one of the Libyan negotiators, said meeting the demands would "positively influence" the talks, according to German news magazine Focus.

The demands came as a surprise to German lawyers for the more than 160 non-American victims of the attack on Berlin's "La Belle" nightclub, which killed two American soldiers and a Turkish woman.

Bombenanschlag auf Diskotek La Belle

The La Belle nightclub after the attack

A German court ruled in 2001 that the Libyan secret service had planned the attack and sentenced four people to long prison terms. A federal appeals court is expected to decide on Thursday whether the cases have to be tried again.

Although five rounds of talks had been unsuccessful, German negotiators had kept talking about an "open and constructive atmosphere" and said they expected to reach an agreement in the near future.

The amount of money paid to the victims had been the main problem so far as the German lawyers are demanding more money than the Libyans are willing to pay. The money, potentially as much as $40 million (€33.2 million), is expected to come from the charitable foundation of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Gadhafi needs an agreement on the matter in order for Libya to be admitted to an EU partnership program with Mediterranean countries. Membership would help Gadhafi in his efforts to rejoin the international community.

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