Britain is strongly denying Libyan claims that the Lockerbie bomber’s release was linked to trade deals.
Last night Abdel Basset al-Megrahi received a warm welcome from Libya’s leader who promised deeper cooperation with the UK in return. Muammar Gaddafi used the meeting to thank the Scottish National Party, the British prime minister and the foreign secretary, praising them for taking a courageous decision. He also said the Queen and Prince Andrew had contributed to the Scottish government’s move. But it is comments by Gaddafi’s son to a TV station in Libya that have caused outrage in London. Seif al-Islam claims Megrahi’s case was raised during talks over oil and gas. But the British government insists the decision was entirely a matter for Scottish authorities and that no agreements were made. Libya has become an valued economic partner, thanks to its vast reserves of oil and gas. British Petroleum recently won a huge contract to exploit those reserves. Colonel Gaddafi even joined Western leaders at this summer’s G8 summit in Italy, a further step in his country’s rehabilitation from a pariah state linked to terrorism.