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Washington's UN Ambassador Warns Libyan Leader Not to 'Aggravate' American Emotions


Washington's U.N. ambassador has warned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi against aggravating U.S. sensitivities over the Lockerbie bomber when he visits the United Nations in New York this month.

Susan Rice said Wednesday the Lockerbie bomber's release from prison in Scotland and hero's reception in Libya was a "sensitive subject for all Americans." Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The terrorist act killed 270 people, including 180 Americans.

Rice said the way Mr. Gadhafi chooses to "comport himself" when he attends the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council sessions has the potential to either further aggravate American emotions or not.

Mr. Gadhafi is scheduled to visit the U.N. General Assembly in New York for the first time in his 40-year rule in Libya.

Libyan officials say the convicted Lockerbie bomber has been hospitalized in Tripoli.

They gave no other details on Megrahi's condition.

Last month, Scotland released Megrahi on compassionate grounds after he served eight years of a life sentence, saying he was near death from cancer. The decision prompted anger from families of the Lockerbie bombing victims.

Scottish lawmakers voted Wednesday to reject the government's decision to release Megrahi. The government asked parliament to endorse the decision to free the bomber. But lawmakers -- in a largely symbolic poll -- voted 73 to 50 against the action.

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