Monday, September 7, 2009

Gaddafi son resists IRA pay-out

Gaddafi son resists IRA pay-out -

But the Irish are happy they get to go to court.

Lawyers happy.

The son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi has said his country will resist demands from the families of IRA victims for compensation.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said any claims for compensation based on Libya's supply of explosives to the IRA would be a matter for "the courts".

He told Sky News: "They have their lawyers, we have our lawyers."
Compensation campaigners welcomed Mr Gaddafi's remarks as a "positive sign of engagement".

On Sunday the relatives also welcomed Gordon Brown's announcement on the government's support for compensation.

Mr Gaddafi's comments came hours after Mr Brown announced that he was setting up a dedicated Foreign Office team to assist the IRA families' victims.
The move was seen by opposition MPs as an U-turn, which had left Britain looking "weak".

'Sign of engagement'

Speaking about the looming British attempts to claim compensation, the Libyan leader's son said: "Anyone can knock on our door. You go to the court."

And when asked if his answer to the compensation demand would be "no" in the first instance, he replied: "Of course."

The response by Mr Gaddafi - seen by many as the most likely successor to his father's leadership - was welcomed by campaigners as a sign of Libyan "engagement".
Victims' families' lawyer Jason McCue said: "I am optimistic about the Libyan response.

IRA victims' lawyer Jason McCue:"PM has made the right decision"

"It means they have decided to engage with us whereas previously there was no engagement.

"We always expected this to go to the courts and now it means there will be a process to getting compensation."

The families had previously welcomed the prime minister's change of mind over whether or not it was "appropriate" to put pressure on Libya.

Mr McCue told the BBC their cases "had been very much in the hands of the civil servants", so they had gone "straight to the prime minister".

"We asked for a principled decision, rather than a bureaucratic decision," he said.
On relations with Libya, he said, we were "dealing" with the past. "We are talking. I think that's very positive".

'Disgusting, immoral'

Also in the interview with Sky News, Mr Gaddafi condemned British opposition politicians as "disgusting and immoral" for using the case of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi to make political capital.

"They are trying to use this human tragedy for their own political agenda," he said.
"It's completely immoral to use this case to advance your own political agenda."
On the question of whether Prime Minister Gordon Brown had involved himself in the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Mr Gaddafi said: "He didn't."

The discussions had been "very, very technical", he said.

He added: "It couldn't be discussed at a high level. It is not something that should be discussed at a leadership level."

Earlier on Sunday, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman William Hague said Gordon Brown's change of mind was a "stunning admission" that the government had failed to support the families of the victims of IRA terrorism.

He said: "The British government should have provided active support as a matter of course, not as a result of public pressure.

"But Gordon Brown and the government he leads have long lost their moral compass."

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