Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Buying peace

[On this date in 2004, Libya’s Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanem, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. A transcript of the long interview can be read here. Here is what he said about Lockerbie:]

Q: Another concern in Britain, from the relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing, is that Libya has not actually apologised for what happened, it has simply paid, or agreed to pay, compensation. Why has Libya not actually apologised, said that you're sorry that you were behind this act?
A: Because it is a case that we came to a conclusion that we reached an agreement in which we feel that we bought peace. We after a while and after the sanctions and after the problems we have faced because of the sanctions, the loss of money, and we thought that it was easier for us to buy peace and this is why we agreed on compensation. Therefore we said, let us buy peace, let us put the whole case behind us and let us look forward.

Q: So payment of compensation didn't mean any acceptance of guilt?
A: I agree with that and this is why I said we bought peace.

Q: Now at the moment, the United States still has Libya on its list of states that sponsor terrorism. How do you feel about that?
A: Well, of course you know the United States is a big power and a big country and it put us, to my mind, unjustly on this list. Because it is a powerful country it can apply certain sanctions. I think at least by now when we try to remove all the bones of contention and we try to buy peace and we try to reach an agreement on all pending issues, I think there is no reason whatsoever to keep Libya on this list and therefore I think that we should not be put on this list and I think pretty soon we will be removed from that list.

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