Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement after today's announcement of an agreement between Libya and the United States to settle outstanding claims from victims of Libyan terrorism. The agreement, which was facilitated by the Libyan Claims Resolution Act (S. 3370) - a bill sponsored by Sen. Biden - will provide full compensation to pay settlements already reached in the bombings of Pan Am 103 in 1988 and the La Belle Discotheque in 1986. The agreement also provides enough funds to ensure that every American claimant in other cases involving Libyan terrorism - either suffering from physical injury or surviving family members - will receive financial compensation comparable to the Pan Am 103 and LaBelle settlements.
"I welcome today's announcement of a comprehensive agreement to compensate American victims of Libyan terror. I now urge Libya to honor its financial obligations under the agreement.
"First, the agreement provides some justice and closure for the victims of Libyan terrorism and their families. But it is small consolation and will not bring back the lives that have been lost, nor undo the suffering endured by survivors.
"The agreement also consolidates Colonel Qadhafi's break with his past support for terrorism and efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. That is good news for Libya, for the United States and for the world. It also is a powerful demonstration that diplomatic engagement, backed up with sanctions and incentives, can change the behavior of countries whose policies threaten our interests.
"Finally, this agreement - and engagement more broadly - does not mean that we surrender our values. Engagement means we are in a stronger position to advance our values and to secure real change. I urge the Bush administration to use this opportunity to assert America's interests in a broader relationship that will put Libya on a more sustainable, and more democratic path."