[This is the headline over a report in the Maltese newspaper The Times. It reads as follows:]
The Prime Minister rejected claims that his government was not investigating Lockerbie prime witness Tony Gauci due to pressure from the US.
"It is totally untrue," he insisted yesterday.
Jim Swire, the father of one of the victims of the 1988 bombing, last Saturday expressed concern that Malta was under pressure by the Americans not to open another investigation. But when asked about this, Dr [Lawrence] Gonzi said: "Until now, nobody has told me anything".
The Lockerbie case came to the fore again on Saturday when The Daily Telegraph quoted unnamed official legal sources saying that Malta wanted to look into Mr Gauci's claims, which had incriminated Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi of the terrorist attack that had claimed 270 lives.
The Maltese government was quick to deny the report, saying it "is not prepared" to investigate the testimony of the key witness. It said that, since 1988, successive Maltese governments had always maintained the bomb that downed Pan Am flight 103 had not departed from Malta and that ample proof of this was produced.
Scottish judge Robert Black, the architect of the Lockerbie trial, backed the government's stand, saying he would have been surprised if the Maltese authorities thought it appropriate to investigate a witness. But Hans Koechler, the expert picked by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to monitor the Lockerbie trial, said he regretted Malta's stand not to conduct its own investigations.
"The government should be concerned that Mr Gauci wrongly identified a man who was convicted of a terrorist attack. The guilty verdict implies the bomb left from Luqa airport and I find it hard to understand why Malta has no interest or concern to investigate the matter and clear its name," he said.
Dr Gonzi yesterday reiterated the government's stand that Malta should not investigate the case. "Our position was always that Malta had nothing to do with the terrorist attack and it has never changed. Over the years we cooperated with every investigation and we think there is nothing to justify a change," he said.