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Tuesday, October 20, 1998 Published at 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK

World: Middle East

Britain tried to kill me - Gaddafi

Col Gaddafi (centre) on crutches met the BBC's John Simpson (left) in a tent outside Tripoli

John Simpson interviews Col Gaddafi in Tripoli
Libya's leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said he has proof that Britain tried to assassinate him.

"Britain was behind this attempted assassination," he told BBC World Editor John Simpson in an exclusive interview at his camp outside Tripoli.

"There are many evidences (sic) and when the time comes we will bring this evidence," he said .

Col Muammar Gaddafi: "Britain was behind this assassination"
His allegations coincide with similar claims by the former British Intelligence agent David Shayler who appears in a Paris court on Wednesday, fighting extradition from France.

When asked if what Mr Shayler alleged was true Col Gaddafi said: "Of course it is true. And it happened against me. Yes, Yes. It has happened of course."

The UK Government has strongly denied Mr Shayler's allegations and wants to try him under the Official Secrets Act.

There have been at least six well documented attempts to kill Col Gaddafi in the 29 years he has been in charge in Libya. He denied rumours that his latest injuries, which require him to use crutches, were caused by such an attempt, saying they were sporting injuries.

Lockerbie suspects could be 'guilty'

[ image: Col Gaddafi has been in charge for 29 years]
Col Gaddafi has been in charge for 29 years
Col Gaddafi also suggested in his interview that the Lockerbie bombing suspects could be guilty and suggested motive for the act could have been revenge for the US bombing of Tripoli in 1986.

John Simpson said Col Gaddafi is keen to see an end to international sanctions imposed on Libya and was clearly distancing himself from the suspects going out of his way to show he no longer stood by them.

"Perhaps these two Libyans took their own revenge against America because America bombed their homes and killed their children," Col Gaddafi said.

"We can solve this problem very easily and then all that is needed is some more guarantees."

Col Gaddafi added he was very sorry about the confontation that had resulted.

Our correspondent believes he now seems to be genuinely looking for ways to break out of his isolation.

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