Friday, 3 September 2010

US anger over Lockerbie bomber 'destabilising' IRA compensation efforts

[This is the headline over a report just published on the Telegraph website. It reads in part:]

US politicians have been accused of destabilising attempts to persuade Libya to pay compensation to the victims of the IRA by stirring up the row over the release over the Lockerbie bomber.

The bitter transatlantic dispute over responsibility for the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is said to have set back delicate talks on a multi-billion pound settlement. (...)

A coalition of survivors of IRA bombs and families of those killed is pressing for compensation from Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, which supplied Semtex explosives during the Troubles.

Their legal team is also attempting to persuade the oil-rich country to make a major investment in Northern Ireland in reparation for the damage. (...)

(...) in a statement following a meeting with the Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, the group acknowledged that recent events had had a “destabilising effect” on progress.
One Whitehall source added: “It is hard to have discussions with someone about moving forward in a positive relationship through respecting their position when there are other issues coming in, other countries becoming involved as well.”

The Coalition has given its backing to the group's aims amid calls for it to become a key plank of British foreign policy. (...)

Mr Burt said: “The Government continues to support the campaign’s goals.

"Acknowledging and addressing the suffering of victims is an essential part of Libya’s full re-engagement with the world.

"Libya’s relations with the international community have been fundamentally transformed in recent years and we have a common interest in moving forward.

"The campaign offers an opportunity to deal with the difficult legacy of the past in the right way.”

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