[The following are excerpts from a cable sent by the US embassy in Tripoli on St Andrew's Day 2009, following a meeting between the US ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on 27 November:]
The ambassador noted that the relationship had seen several advancements and several serious setbacks since Saif's last visit to the United States, including the August 20 hero's welcome accorded to Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi by Saif himself. Megrahi's return had severely offended American sensitivities and renewed tensions that set the relationship back. Until that point, there had been significant progress (...)
Saif acknowledged that he was disconnected for a long time from the bilateral relationship and recognized that the hero's welcome for Megrahi had set engagement back. He reiterated that he was "back" on the scene and could serve as the "trouble-shooter" for any future problems. He urged the ambassador to contact his office directly in times of crisis. He also promised to resolve the visa issue, stating that he understood the importance of a transparent and reliable system of issuance. In their one-on-one discussion afterwards, the ambassador asked Saif to explain his actions when he accompanied Megrahi back to Tripoli. Saif said he knew what the reaction in the West would be, but that it did not constitute an "official" welcome. He had worked on the release for a long time, he was not a public official, and there were no international media like Al Jazeera present. In addition, Saif claimed that the Libyans would someday find a way to show that Megrahi was innocent. The ambassador reiterated the damage the welcome had done and said no amount of justification could undo that. Saif nodded his understanding.