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Arab nations have urged the United Nations to forgo imposing sanctions on Libya for failing to turn over suspects in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, saying mediation should first be given a chance.

Libya's refusal to hand over the alleged intelligence agents has locked it in a growing confrontation with Western countries and the world body.The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on sanctions that would include a ban on air links with Libya, a halt in arms sales to the country and a call on nations to expel most Libyan diplomats.

At an emergency meeting of the 21-member Arab League on Sunday, Arab foreign ministers and other representatives refused Libya's request to ignore any such sanctions.

But the Arab nations urged the United Nations to "avoid taking any economic, military or diplomatic measures that could have negative consequences on the region."

The resolution also said the Security Council should await the outcome of an International Court of Justice hearing on an appeal filed by Libya seeking to block sanctions. The court, which is to open hearings Thursday, is the United Nations' judicial branch, but compliance with its rulings is voluntary.

Libyan Prime Minister Abu-Zeid Omar Durdah welcomed the league's resolutions Monday, saying in Cairo that "those who are confident of their legal position, why don't they accept patience until the Court of Justice decides on the issue?"

The resolution was prompted largely by fears the sanctions would also hurt the economies of Libya's Arab neighbors, like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. Egypt, for example, has 1 million citizens working in Libya and fears they might lose their jobs if Libya's economy was damaged.

China also said Monday the Security Council should not impose sanctions on Libya, saying that would aggravate the situation.

"We are not in favor of the Security Council moving to impose sanctions against Libya, because instead of facilitating a settlement, it could only aggravate regional tensions and result in serious consequences," Foreign Minister Qian Qichen told a news conference.