[On this date in 1998 Dr Jim Swire and I had a meeting in Tripoli with Colonel Gaddafi. What follows is the text of a press release issued following our trip to Libya:]
A meeting to discuss issues arising out of the Lockerbie bombing was held in the premises of the Libyan Foreign Office in Tripoli on the evening of Saturday 18 April 1998. Present were Mr Abdul Ati Obeidi, Under-Secretary of the Libyan foreign Office; Mr Mohammed Belqassem Zuwiy [Zwai], Secretary of Justice of Libya; Mr Abuzaid Omar Dorda, Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations; Dr Ibrahim Legwell, head of the defence team representing the two Libyan citizens suspected of the bombing; Dr Jim Swire, spokesman for the British relatives group UK Families-Flight 103; and Professor Robert Black QC, Professor of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh and currently a visiting professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
At the meeting discussion focused upon the plan which had been formulated in January 1994 by Professor Black for the establishment of a court to try the suspects which would:
* operate under the criminal law and procedure of Scotland
* have in place of a jury an international panel of judges presided over by a senior Scottish judge
* sit not in Scotland but in a neutral country such as The Netherlands.
Among the issues discussed were possible methods of appointment of the international panel of judges, and possible arrangements for the transfer of the suspects from Libya for trial and for ensuring their safety and security pending and during the trial.
Dr Legwell confirmed, as he had previously done in January 1994, that his clients agreed to stand trial before such a court if it were established. The representatives of the Libyan Government stated, as they had done in 1994 and on numerous occasions since then, that they would welcome the setting up of such a court and that if it were instituted they would permit their two citizens to stand trial before it and would co-operate in facilitating arrangements for that purpose.
Dr Swire and Professor Black undertook to persist in their efforts to persuade the Government of the United Kingdom to join Libya in accepting this proposal.
On Sunday 19 April 1998, Professor Black met the South African ambassador to Libya and Tunisia, His Excellency Ebrahim M Saley, and discussed with him current developments regarding the Lockerbie bombing. He also took the opportunity to inform the ambassador of how much President Mandela's comments on the Lockerbie affair at the time of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 1997 in Edinburgh had been appreciated.
On Monday 20 April, Dr Swire and Professor Black had a meeting a lasting some 40 minutes with the Leader of the Revolution, Muammar al-Qaddafi. Also present were the Libyan Foreign Secretary, Mr Omar al-Montasser, and Mr Dorda. The Leader was informed of the substance of the discussions held on Saturday 18 April, and expressed his full support for the conclusions reached.