Monday, 19 July 2010

Cameron criticises al-Megrahi release before US visit

[This is the headline over a report on the BBC News website. It reads in part:]

David Cameron has attacked the release of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, ahead of his first official visit to the US as PM.

Mr Cameron described the Scottish government decision to free Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds last year as "completely wrong".

The US Congress is investigating the background to the decision amid claims of lobbying by oil firm BP over it. (...)

Mr Cameron is expected to discuss ... the Lockerbie case during his first visit to the White House as prime minister on Tuesday. (...)

Asked about the decision in August to free Libyan al-Megrahi after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given three months to live, Mr Cameron stressed it had been a decision for the Scottish government alone.

However, he said he "deeply regrets" the pain the decision caused to the relatives of the 270 mainly US citizens, killed in the 1988 bombing.

"All I know is, as leader of the opposition, I could not have been more clear that I thought the decision to release al-Megrahi was completely and utterly wrong," he told BBC Breakfast.

Asked whether BP - which has lucrative oil contracts in Libya - had lobbied for al-Megrahi's release, he said: "I have no idea what BP did. I am not responsible for BP."

Foreign Secretary William Hague has written to his US counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stating that there was no evidence of BP involvement in the decision.

BP has acknowledged that it warned the previous Labour government of a possible "negative impact on UK commercial interests" of slow progress being made agreeing a separate prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.

But it has insisted that it had no discussions with either the UK or Scottish government over the issue.

On Sunday, Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski called for a full public inquiry into the decision to release al-Megrahi.

[The four senators who triggered this furore have now written to David Cameron asking for a meeting while he is in the United States. But it appears from a report on the BBC News website that the request has been refused:]

"UK Prime Minister David Cameron will not meet four US senators to discuss allegations BP lobbied for the release of the Lockerbie bomber. (...)

"But the British embassy said Mr Cameron had a full schedule on his US trip and the senators could meet the ambassador."

1 comment:

  1. I would like to see the names of Mr Megrahi's doctors please.