Message to the Families of the Pan Am 103 Crash Victims

January 31, 2001
Dear Families:

With the conviction today of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, an official of the Libyan government, I wanted to give you my thoughts on this verdict. I deeply regret the tragic events that led to these proceedings. Many of you have worked hard to achieve justice for your loved ones. I sincerely hope that today's verdict brings a lessening of your grief. Nevertheless, my hope is tempered by the certainty that this victory, although hard-fought, cannot begin to compensate for the feelings of loss that you live with as a result of having had your loved ones taken away from you.

The verdict handed down today by the Scottish court vindicates your unfailing commitment, as well as the extraordinary efforts of three consecutive Administrations. It also adds considerable weight of international legitimacy to our demands that Libya fulfill its remaining obligations.

I want you to know that the United States will not allow this matter to simply fade away. We will pursue the evidence wherever it may lead. We have made clear to the Government of Libya that the issuance of a verdict does not in itself signify an end to UN sanctions against Libya. In the near future, the United Sates and the United Kingdom will be meeting with the Government of Libya to lay out the remaining steps Libya must take to satisfy the requirements of UNSCR Resolutions. We will continue to work to ensure that Libya permanently abandons its support of terrorism and provides a full and effective response to remaining U.S. demands.

I wish to emphasize that our combined efforts have served an important purpose. Due largely to the international outcry that followed the downing of Pan Am 103, the threat of state-sponsored terrorism has diminished, terrorist training camps have been closed, and state sponsors of terrorist organizations have concluded that they cannot escape the consequences of their actions. These trends translate directly into greater safety for others, who like your lost parents, husbands, wives and children are irreplaceable to those who anxiously wait for them to return safely home.

Again, I congratulate you on your long, hard fight and extend my deepest sympathy. I look forward to meeting all of you in the near future and to answering whatever questions you may have at that time.

Sincerely,

Colin L. Powell
U.S. Secretary of State