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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 19:34 GMT
Blair: Justice done on Lockerbie
Crash scene
The crash led to years of political wrangling
Prime Minister Tony Blair is "glad that justice has been done" in the Lockerbie case, Downing Street said after the trial verdicts were announced.

Britain now expects Libya to pay at least $700m compensation and take responsibility for the actions of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.


The Lockerbie bombing stands among the most brutal acts of mass murder

Robin Cook
The Libyan official was convicted of murdering all 259 people on the plane and a further 11 who died on the ground.

His co-accused, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was found not guilty after a historic 84-day trial held under Scottish law in the Netherlands.

Statement

In a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the government required Libya not only to pay the compensation but also to accept responsibility for the atrocity.

Crater at Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie
The crater left by one of the wings
He told MPs that sanctions would not be lifted against Libya until it met both demands.

Libya was required to accept responsibility and pay compensation under the terms of a United Nations Security Council resolution, Mr Cook said.

"It is in Libya's own interest to be seen to be cooperating fully with the resolution of the United Nations Security Council.

"Libyan leaders need to take every opportunity to prove to the international community that they have definitively renounced terrorism and will abide by international law."

Sanctions

Mr Cook added: "There is no question of sanctions being lifted until Libya has fulfilled those requirements."

He would be discussing what steps should be taken next with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the coming days.

The foreign secretary took time to praise the Scottish justice system under which the Libyan official was convicted.

"It is widely agreed that it has proved a fair trial which we promised," he said.

He said: "The Lockerbie bombing stands among the most brutal acts of mass murder.

"Nothing can repair the loss of those who were murdered that night or remove the grief of their relatives but today at last those relatives know that a fair trial in an open court has seen justice be done."

No public inquiry

Despite calls from some campaigners and Labour MPs, it was made clear that the government is "not persuaded" that a public inquiry into the disaster would add anything to what was already known.

Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Francis Maude said that the verdict would bring "a little comfort" to the victims' relatives.

He said: "Until the Libyans' reaction to the verdict is known, and until we know if an appeal will be brought, it is too early to consider the status of sanctions."

Verdict 'perverse'

Liberal Democrat spokesman Malcolm Bruce called on Colonel Gadaffi's government in Libya to apologise for the bomb.

Colonel Gaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi: Denied involvement
"This is now an opportunity for Gaddafi to respond by acknowledging that Libyan officials have been involved in this dreadful act, to apologise for acts of terrorism which he says he now repudiates and to be prepared to make recompense to those who have suffered so tragically and to cooperate fully in any public inquiry."

Earlier, Labour MP Russell Brown, whose Dumfries constituency includes Lockerbie, said: "I think there will be a degree of relief on the part of many people that a guilty verdict has been secured in all of this.

"There will be a degree of relief but there will be further issues beyond this now."

'Judgement of Solomon'

But George Galloway, a Scottish Labour MP, described the verdicts as "perverse", saying the judges had been required to deliver the "Judgement of Solomon".

He said he thought the Iranian goverment was responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and he called for a public inquiry.

Labour's Tam Dalyell, who has been involved with the Lockerbie case from the start, said: "It stretches the imagination that Megrahi alone devised a scheme which led to the biggest murder of Western civilians since 1945."

He also backed calls for a public inquiry.

Lockerbie megapuff graphic

AUDIO VIDEO

Appeal concludes

Key stories

Features

The trial
See also:

31 Jan 01 | In Depth
31 Jan 01 | In Depth
31 Jan 01 | In Depth
19 Jan 01 | In Depth
24 Jan 01 | In Depth
31 Jan 01 | UK Politics
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