UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Libya — a former pariah state condemned by the U.S. as a sponsor of terrorism — won a seat on the U.N. Security Council Tuesday without opposition from the Bush administration.
The U.S. decision not to support a rival African country for the seat angered families of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland — some of whom watched the vote in the U.N. General Assembly from the visitors gallery. They said the United States should have done more to prevent Libya from getting a seat on the U.N.'s most powerful body.
Dan Cohen of Cape May Court House, N.J., who lost his 20-year-old daughter Theodora, said the vast majority of Lockerbie victims were Americans. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi "has more American blood on his hands than any other surviving dictator in the world," he said.
"It is a disgrace that the United States would not even put up a fight and try to defeat Libya," he said. "America just hasn't stood up on this issue at all. ... And the Libyan government is working diligently to get the one person convicted in this case out of jail in Scotland."
Just over a year ago, the U.S. removed the African nation from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The U.S. had regarded Libya as a pariah state for decades after Gadhafi came to power in a 1969 coup and turned his country against the West. It was the target of U.S. airstrikes in 1986, and subject to sanctions.