[This is the headline over a report in today’s edition of The Daily Telegraph, following on from the story in the newspaper yesterday headlined Libya minister says Lockerbie case is 'closed'. Today’s report reads in part:]
Britain insisted that the investigation into the 1988 Lockerbie bombing remains open, after a Libyan minister told The Daily Telegraph that the government there regarded the inquiry as over.
On Friday this newspaper reported that British police were conducting inquiries in Libya for the first time in an attempt to restart the investigation into the 1988 bombing that brought down Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland, killing 270 people.
Last night the Foreign Office disclosed that members of the Lockerbie investigation team, including officers from Dumfries and Galloway Police, had in fact visited the north African state this week.
The Libyan justice minister, Salah al-Marghani, told the Telegraph the case had been "settled" with the former Gaddafi regime.
"I am trying to work on the current situation rather than dig into the past," he said.
In a statement Friday night, the Foreign Office said that it expected a follow-up to the investigation team's visit "very soon".
"The investigation into the Lockerbie case remains open and the Government continues to discuss cooperation on this case with the Libyan government," the statement said. (...)
One official said that the diplomats had sought permission to restart the Lockerbie investigation "from scratch". But these ambitions are likely to be frustrated by the lack of desire on the part of the Libyan authorities to reopen old wounds. (...)
Libya's government also faces pressure from its own people not to reopen the case. The payment of such a huge settlement at a time when many believed there was not conclusive evidence that Libya was responsible for the terrorist attack caused a public outpouring of anger.
The transfer of the financial settlement is one of the charges listed against at least two former regime officials who are now in jail accused of "wasting public funds".
"Even if the government did want to open it they would face opposition from the local people. There would be protests in the streets," said one official in the Libyan Supreme Court.
[A report in today’s edition of The Herald contains the following:]
Scottish police have secretly travelled to Libya with the FBI for talks with senior members of the country's government as part of their investigation into the Lockerbie bombing.
A four-person delegation from Dumfries and Galloway Police and the Crown Office, accompanied by an FBI delegation from Washington, had discussions with senior officials in Tripoli over the atrocity which claimed 270 lives on December 21, 1988. (...)
The news emerged a day after the Libyan Government said the Lockerbie case was closed. (...)
Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, is the only individual to have been convicted of the bombing. He died last year from cancer after being freed from prison to return to Tripoli on compassionate grounds.
Many of the families of the British victims are unconvinced of his guilt.
The architect of Megrahi's trial at Camp Zeist in 2000 warned the Libyan minister's comments could be a sign of growing tensions.
Robert Black, Emeritus Professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University, said: "It could be a setback for everyone, whether you're convinced Megrahi is innocent or not."
A UK Government source added: "The investigation into the Lockerbie case remains open."
However, Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the atrocity, said: "I think the police are almost certainly wasting their time and public money by going to Tripoli.
"If they are going to cement the case against Megrahi, then it is a wild goose chase."
[A report in The Scotsman starts with the following two sentences:]
Scottish police, prosecutors and FBI investigators have arrived in Libya, it emerged last night. They landed hours after the country’s justice minister insisted that the matter was “settled” and it was wrong to dwell on the past.
[I believe that The Scotsman’s chronology is wrong. The Scottish investigators met Libyan officials on 25 February, whereas the statements by the Libyan justice ministers about the case being closed were made (or, at least, were reported) on 28 February/1 March.]