Wednesday, 4 November 2015

US Secretary of State Clinton and Musa Kusa

What follows is an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2009:

Hillary meets Musa
Mrs Clinton also met Tuesday with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, formerly Tripoli's intelligence chief. Many US officials believe he had knowledge of the 1988 plot to blow up a US-bound airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. Mrs. Clinton didn't raise the Lockerbie case with Mr Kusa, a US official said, but focused on US cooperation with Libya on counterterror measures and efforts to stabilize Sudan.

[From an article on the Secretary of State's Middle East tour in today's edition ofThe Wall Street Journal. The following excerpt from a press briefing given by State Department spokesman P J Crowley is taken from the Still4Hill website.]

MR CROWLEY: And then she met with Foreign Minister Musa Kusa — M-u-s-a, K-u-s-a – who’s a – he’s a graduate of Michigan State University. At one point, he said, Spartans and gave a thumbs up.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Wasn’t Musa Kusa indicted for terrorism at one point? Can you check, because was the intelligence chief before he became the foreign minister?

QUESTION: I thought he was indicted for killing Americans.

QUESTION: Were you going to tell us about this? Can I have the next question?


QUESTION: Why was this not on the schedule and why was there no photo opportunity of this?

MR CROWLEY: The short answer is it happened almost – let me back up. I mean, we had a limited time and we had a number of potential candidates for bilats. And in some cases, there were a couple countries that we were looking at bilats. And for example, and – but the Secretary was able to have pull-asides during the GCC meeting, for example. I mean, Libya is a country that we are – we have an emerging relationship with. And we think it’s best to continue talking to them and seeing where we can continue to advance the relationship.

And that – but I mean, it was something that – this was just a – kind of like a target of opportunity where the ministers found themselves with a similar hole and they got pulled into a room and sat for about 15 minutes.

QUESTION: Did they discuss the Lockerbie bomber’s recent release back home?

MR CROWLEY: I was in the meeting; that did not come up. They –

QUESTION: She didn’t bring it up? I mean, you guys – excuse me, sorry. I mean, you and Ian were having to brief for about 10 days straight to us. Every single day we were asking you – hammering you guys with questions about the seeming welcome parade that he got and how upset people were about that, and you guys kept saying how upset the U.S. was about that. She didn’t bring that up when she had an opportunity?

MR CROWLEY: We didn’t bring up the tent either. (Laughter.) Sorry.

QUESTION: The tent’s a little bit less of foreign policy issue.

MR CROWLEY: No, the – I mean, Libya has a perspective on the region. They have been very helpful and integrally involved in developments in Sudan, so we did talk about Sudan, talked about Darfur. There has been cooperation from the countries on counterterrorism. And they continue to talk about advancing our relationship. But it was about a 10- or 15-minute meeting.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Sorry, you just said it was only 10 or 15 minutes. Was that the first time (inaudible)?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR CROWLEY: I’ll check.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR CROWLEY: Yes, that’s the first time that they’ve met.

1 comment:

  1. On 30th August 2009 it was revealed that the British government, in the persons of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jack Straw had all along been using Al-Megrahi as a bargaining chip in oil industry negotiations with Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam.

    Two years previously Straw had written to Scotland's Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill regarding the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) signed in March 2004 by Blair and Gaddafi. Journalists named it "The deal in the Desert". At that same meeting and at a later meeting Blair agreed with the Libyans an £11 billion trade agreement involving British Petroleum.

    In 2007 Straw had been challenged about the deal and its links with Al-Megrahi. He told MacAskill that he favoured an option to leave him out of the PTA.

    As back-channel negotiations proceeded with Libya Straw reversed direction: "I previously accepted the importance of the Al-Megrahi issue to Scotland. I said I would try to get an exclusion of him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion."

    Straw did not indicate where the resistance had come from. Was it from the British government, or was pressure coming from Libya with threats of withdrawal from the BP agreement?

    But had Straw really tried at all? He continued with the bomb-shell: "In view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that the PTA should be in the standard form and not mention any individual." In other words, it could include Al-Megrahi.

    To counter the ensuing furore, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a special point of interrupting a school visit to claim that there had been "No deal, and no private assurances by me." The important words were “by me”. He knew that assurances had been given by Straw and his officials. The old techniques of nuance in the message were there, just as they were when Straw, with weasel words, refused to grant an inquiry.

    On 5th February 2009 Straw seemingly cleared the matter up entirely. In an interview given to the Daily Telegraph, he admitted that his original requirement was that the PTA would exclude al-Megrahi. But following a warning by British Petroleum that failure to include Al-Megrahi could hurt BP's Libyan interests, Straw capitulated. "Yes. It was a very big part of that. I'm unapologetic about that. Libya was a rogue state. Trade is an essential part of it, and subsequently there was the BP deal."

    Just another angle on that secret world in which Britain, the acolyte to America's altar, follows the crowd. The Koussa meeting was nothing more than a "Howdie. How are things going over there? Carry on the good work and we'll make sure that if things come off the rails, you'll be OK".