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Qaddafi: U.S. Should Be Afraid

Qaddaffi
CBS
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi says the U.S. is right to fear terrorist action - but don't blame him if it happens.

On the eleventh anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Qaddafi told CBS Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel America is a terrorist target.

"All people are against America because of its policies in the world," Qaddafi said. "Therefore, America is right to expect hostile actions against it, but I hope it will not happen."

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima are scheduled to stand trial on May 3 in the Netherlands on charges they bombed Pan Am Flight 103, killing all 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground in Scotland. Most of those killed were Americans.

Qaddafi handed over the suspects after eight years of delays, and only after striking a deal to have the two men tried under Scottish law at a former military base in The Netherlands in order to ensure a fair trial.

There seems growing evidence that the two men being charged will not be found guilty. Qaddafi said if that's the case, he would expect both an apology and financial compensation from the United States.

Sanctions were first imposed on Libya in 1992 after it failed to hand over the two suspects for trial either in Britain or the United States, where they had been indicted. After a compromise was reached leading to The Netherlands trial, the United Nations suspended the sanctions.

Asked whether he was sorry he had not turned over the suspects sooner, Qaddafi said he was sorry that his country had suffered sanctions as a result of the bombing.

"We are sorry around the world, sorry about the sanctions that my country suffered. They think America and Britain did it deliberately to make Libyan people suffer a long time, as long as they want," Qaddafi said. "It is not the fault of my country."

Qaddafi said he has no knowledge of specific attacks against the U.S. and Americans, and doesn't expect one on New Year's, but wouldn't be surprised if it happens.

"America knows very well it is the target of every country in the world because of hostile policy, its sanctions, its threat is everywhere," he said. "All people believe that America is aggressive, against the peace and cooperation and people between the world."

Qaddafi said the rest of the world doesn't want the U.S. dictating what it should do.

"To be the police of the world, to put all the world under its umbrella, the people refuse this completely," he said. "America is conducting terrorist policy in the world. No one likes America."

©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Reuters contributed to this report