Tuesday, 20 March 2012

US "interested" in what Senussi has to say about Lockerbie

[The US State Department daily press briefing on 19 March 2012 conducted by spokesperson Victoria Nuland contains the following exchange:]

QUESTION: Okay. Just on the capture over the weekend of Mr Senussi, I’m just wondering if you can tell us if the US has any interest in talking to him about potential connections with Lockerbie. Are you in contact with the Mauritanians, seeking either to get access to him there or to figure out where he’s going to go next, given the number of requests for his extradition?

MS NULAND: Well, first of all, to say that Abdullah al-Senussi’s capture in Mauritania is a crucial step towards justice and accountability, and another welcome step away from the dark 40-year history of Libya. As you know, he’s been accused of crimes against humanity and acts of terrorism, and the international community has been very clear that he needs to be held to account.

We are in contact with the Government of Mauritania about him. I’m not going to speak any further about what we may or may not be consulting about in that context. But as you know, both Libya and the Government of France have asked for extradition of him, the French Government in connection with a terrorist – the terrorist incident with UTA; the Libyans, for obvious reasons.

So we want to see him brought to justice and we will – right now we have a Libyan delegation in Mauritania, so we’ll see where those contacts go.

QUESTION: Are you able to say whether or not the US Government regards him as a person of interest in connection with the Lockerbie case?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think we’ve always been interested in what he has to say about that, of course.

QUESTION: But you’re not – you can’t say whether or not you’re actually trying to get him to tell US Government officials what he might know?

MS. NULAND: I’m not in a position to speak about whether we will be involved at all, but obviously the Mauritanians are cooperating with everybody who has an interest in him.

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