Libya lifts death sentences for nurses but makes demands

Monday, July 23, 2007

Last week, Libya lifted the death sentence for five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinean doctor in the case about the HIV infection of hundreds of Libyan children. The deal called for a US$460 million settlement for the families of the children.

However, now Libya is holding out for a better deal. According to reports, Libya is seeking more money for the treatment of the children, as well as normalized relations with the European Union. Another sticking point in making a deal has been that Bulgaria and the EU are unwilling to strike any deal that admits the guilt of the medics, whose innocence they insist upon.

Ivaylo Kalfin

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin spoke to reporters in Brussels. "We are at the stage now where the decision is purely political," he said. "I hope there will be enough will from the Libyans' side today in order to finalise talks ... If they show this will, then the transfer can be done very quickly."

"Allow me not to go into any details because that would make all the efforts that are being made in Libya right now meaningless," Kalfin was quoted to have said later in the day, according to Bulgarian national television.