The UK’s relations with Libya are back in the spotlight with Gordon Brown denying he shied away from pressing Tripoli to compensate families of IRA victims.The British Prime Minister now insists he will back compensation claims. Opponents accuse him of doing a u-turn having earlier refused to help. On a trip to Berlin, Brown clarified his position saying: “Over the coming weeks and months I can say that we will continue to step up our support by establishing dedicated foreign office support to the victims’ campaign, we will appoint dedicated officers in the foreign office and our embassy in Tripoli will accompany the families and their representatives to meetings with the Libyan government to negotiate compensation.” Last year campaigners met the prime minister to push for payments from Libya, who they say shipped semtex explosives to the IRA during the 1980s and 1990s. Letters released on Sunday show Brown had not previously considered it “appropriate” to discuss compensation claims. Victims say the government put trade before justice. Jonathan Ganesh, a survivor of 1996 Docklands bombing said: “They seem more interested in oil. I know energy must be important, oil must be important. But surely human life is more precious, because we are valuing human life now with barrels of oil.” The row is the latest twist in relations between Libya and Britain. Brown is facing down allegations of pushing Scotland’s devolved government to release the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, in the interests of fostering better relations with Tripoli.
UK denies putting Libya first in IRA victims row