Sunday, September 28, 2008

“This is a capitulation to the forces of money and the forces of evil"

Sunday Express


Sunday September 28,2008

David Jarvis

FAMILIES of the Lockerbie victims were outraged yesterday after it emerged Libya has been invited to a UK energy summit two days before the 20th anniversary of the atrocity.

The Foreign Office confirmed the summit will take place, in London, on December 19, as relatives prepare to remember their loved ones.

Downing Street refused to confirm if Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi would attend, though it is understood he has been invited as part of the continuing efforts to thaw relations with Tripoli.

Last night Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora, 24, died in the tragedy, said the timing of the summit, which No 10 said yesterday was aimed at “widening the dialogue between oil producing and consumer countries” was “highly insensitive”.

And Susan Cohen, who lost her only daughter, Theo, 20, in the bombing, described the decision as “terrible” adding: “It’s all about oil.”

Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people. The flight from Frankfurt to New York via London blew up killing all 259 on board and 11 residents of the Borders town.

Dr Swire said: “I have no issue with Gadaffi coming here but the timing is wrong.

“The relatives have not been consulted about this in any way, shape or form and obviously if they had been they would have objected.

“I certainly feel this is all about commerce.

“It doesn’t escape me that this has been organised hot on the heels of the visit by Condoleeza Rice to Tripoli this month.

“Oil is the central issue here and the feelings of the families for whom this will be a sad time have not been considered.”

Susan Cohen, from New Jersey, added: “I think it is terrible what is happening with Libya. America and Britain are giving Gadaffi what he wants. We have given in to him over oil. It’s all about oil and not the memory of our loved ones.

“This is a capitulation to the forces of money and the forces of evil.

“We are giving Gadaffi what he wants. That is for this meeting to take place so close to the anniversary, because it reflects our own indifference.”

Yesterday, the Foreign Office and Downing Street refused to elaborate on the summit.

Lockerbie is still Britain’s worst-ever terrorist attack.

After years of investigation, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was handed over by Gadaffi to stand trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands.

He was found guilty in 2001 but his co-accused, Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.

Earlier this month, the Lockerbie families endured claims by Megrahi, 56, that the British Government had covered up crucial evidence that could secure his release.

He spoke publicly for the first time about his case during an illegal TV interview to Arab station Al Jazeera from his jail cell.

In the secret call from Greenock Prison, the Libyan claimed to have been the victim of a “miscarriage of justice”.

The programme came just days after Saif al-Islam al Gadaffi, the son of the Libyan leader, described Lockerbie victims’ families as “greedy”.

He said Libya only agreed to take responsibility for the terrorist atrocity to restart its oil industry, which had come to a standstill because of international sanctions.

He said of the Lockerbie relatives: “I think they were very greedy and they were trading with the blood of their sons and daughters.

“And they were asking for more money and more money and more money and more money and they were talking just about money! Money, money, money, money!

“The Americans and the British said you have to satisfy the families in order to be able to lift the sanction.”

No comments: