Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Too Little Too Late, Mr. Brown
Gordon Brown 'angry' and 'repulsed' by Lockerbie bomber's welcome in Libya
Aug 25 2009
GORDON BROWN said today he was "angry" and "repulsed" at the reception given to the freed Lockerbie bomber in Libya - but still declined to say if he agreed with the decision to release him.
Speaking for the first time on the subject, the Prime Minister insisted the British Government had "no role" in the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds, but went on to say that his determination to fight terror remained "absolute".
He also dismissed suggestions that the decision by the Scottish Justice Secretary would undermine Britain's relationship with the US and its other allies against terrorism.
Asked whether he thought it was the right or wrong decision to release Megrahi, Mr Brown said his first thoughts had been with the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing.
Speaking in Downing Street, he went on: "I was both angry and I was repulsed by the reception that a convicted bomber guilty of a huge terrorist crime received on his return to Libya.
"When I met (Libyan leader) Colonel Gaddafi over the summer, I made it absolutely clear to him that we had no role in making the decision about Megrahi's future.
"Because it was a quasi-judicial matter, because it was a matter legislated for by the Scottish Parliament and not by us, it was amatter over which we could not interfere and had no control over the final outcome.
"I want to make it absolutely clear, however, that whatever the decision that was made on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Parliament, our resolve to fight terrorism is absolute, our determination to work with other countries to fight and to root out terrorism is total, and we want to work with countries - even countries like Libya, who have renounced nuclear weapons now and want to join the international community - we want to work with them in the fight against terrorism around the world."
Mr Brown's comments, his first in public since last week's release of Megrahi, came as he faced reporters in Number 10 following talks with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
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