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Libya pays into victim account

Libya deposited a “substantial amount” into an account for victims of Libyan terrorism, U.S. officials said.

The account was set up to settle lawsuits brought against the regime over the last two decades and to pave the way to full normalization between Libya and the United States.

“We’ve received a substantial amount of money in the account the U.S. government established for American claimants,” said David Welch, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, in a conference call on Thursday. “This is a direct deposit that was just made overnight.”

The settlement is for the Libyans to pay $1.5 billion toward American victims of its terrorism and for the United States to pay $300 million toward Libyan victims of its raids.

Welch would not specify the amount the Libyans deposited except to say that it was “evidence of their commitment to fully implementing the whole agreement, and a substantial indication of their commitment.”

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has placed a hold on confirming a U.S. ambassador to Tripoli until the Libyans pay settlements to victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Lautenberg authored the law that allow victims and victims’ families to sue state sponsors of terrorism; the law has enabled suits against Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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