Posted by: the watchmen | August 4, 2008

Perfidious Albion______Again!



Did Government have role in US-Libya deal?

Labour MP Andrew MacKi

A LABOUR MP has tabled a question to Foreign Secretary David Miliband asking what role Britain played in a US-Libya deal which critics say “throws IRA victims to the wolves”.
The agreement, which prevents victims of republican terror getting compensation from Libya, was last night welcomed by the British Government.

But after reading a report on the News Letter website on the implications of the deal while on holiday in the Province, Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay – a long-standing member of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee – has now asked Mr Miliband to make a statement on the affair and, in a written Parliamentary question, called on him to spell out exactly what Britain’s role has been in the deal.

Ulster critics of the US-Libya agreement – which excludes those maimed or killed by the IRA from being compensated by Colonel Gaddafi through the American courts – have said it “sells” their loved ones for Libyan oil and puts an end to IRA victims’ hope of compensation from Libya.

Victims of IRA terrorism have claimed that America is “cashing in on the blood of IRA victims in their rush to get at Libya’s oil”.

Mr MacKinlay said: “The burden is on the British Government to demonstrate that they have fulfilled their duty of due diligence to all the citizens of the United Kingdom; on the face of it, it wouldn’t appear that they have.

“Can you imagine if this was the other way round and we were precluding US victims of terrorism from suing perpetrators through our courts?” he said.

“The US administration would shout foul, yet what have we done here?
“Precluding victims from seeking compensation through the courts is alien to the concept of justice.”

He said that the Bush administration was sending “mixed messages” to nations such as Iran by talking tough about the consequences of supporting terrorists, while settling with a country such as Libya which has sponsored terrorism.

“I travel to America every year and my experience of the British Embassy in Washington DC is that it is administration-centric and I believe that they have been asleep when this bill was going through.”

During the 1970s and 1980s, Libya gave the IRA ammunition, arms, finances, and explosives – particularly Semtex.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said the British Government welcomed the US-Libya deal.

“The UK welcomes the government-to-government agreement between the US and Libya, providing for compensation for many victims of state-sponsored terrorism,” he said.

The spokesman said that victims of the Lockerbie bombing would be compensated under the deal.

But, when asked about the dashed hopes of IRA victims suing Libya, he said that the Government had never been involved in the case and that it was “a matter for the individuals involved”.

Mr MacKinlay said that it was a “tremendous sign of weakness” to re-admit Libya into the international community without fully compensating its victims.

“I am a realist – the West needs oil and the great prize was stopping the Weapons of Mass Destruction programme.

“But I do not believe that it is acceptable to compensate one set of victims (Lockerbie], but not another group of victims (IRA victims],” he said.


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