Brown denies double-dealing

2009-09-02 15:53
Birmingham - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown denied any "double-dealing" over the Lockerbie bomber on Wednesday, insisting his release had been entirely a matter for the Scottish government.

"There was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to influence Scottish ministers, no private assurances by me to Colonel Gaddafi," he said, referring to allegations that Britain had linked the release to business deals with oil-rich Libya.

He insisted he gave no assurances to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi when he met him in July over the fate of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the 1988 bombing of a plane over Scotland in which 270 people were killed.

"There was never a linkage between any other issue and the Scottish government's decision about al-Megrahi's future. Our interest throughout has been to strengthen the coalition against international terrorism," he said.

Brown reiterated his condemnation of the "despicable scenes" in Tripoli when al- Megrahi was given a hero's welcome when he returned home following his release from a Scottish prison last month.

Following those scenes - which triggered fury from the US administration and families of the 189 US victims - Brown said it was his duty as British premier to minimise any further suffering for victims' relatives.

This had been achieved in the sense that al-Megrahi had not taken part in any of the celebrations in Libya this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the coup which brought Gaddafi to power in the north African country.

Al-Megrahi "did not appear at these events," said Brown, hailing the fact that Libya had returned to the international fold in recent years, after becoming a pariah state for much of the 1980s and 1990s.

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Read more on:    libya  |  scotland  |  terrorism  |  lockerbie bombing

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