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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Lockerbie deal 'a distraction'
Rev John Mosey
The Rev John Mosey is pressing for an independent inquiry
A compensation deal for the families of the Lockerbie bombing victims has been described as a "distraction" by UK relatives.

The Rev John Mosey, whose daughter Helga died in the 1988 atrocity, said the agreement with Libya was a "great step forward".

But he said the relatives' main aim was to win an independent inquiry into the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town.

The agreement also received a mixed reaction from American families who lost relatives in the bombing.

Lawyers acting for the victims' families have reached agreement with Libya on the creation of a $2.7bn (1.7bn) compensation fund.

Libya is now expected to write to the United Nations accepting responsibility for the attack, which claimed 270 lives.

Comply with demands

Rev Mosey described this as "a great step forward" and said his family would take the money because it was the only way for Libya to get back into the civilised world.

"We made certain demands on them and it looks as if they are going to comply with those demands," he said.

"It is better to have Libya as friends rather than as enemies."

Lockerbie scene
Today's agreement still leaves the question of the truth behind Lockerbie
Jim Swire
But he said there was a down side for the UK families.

"It is something of a distraction from the main aim of our group, which has been to get an independent inquiry into all the matters surrounding the Lockerbie bombing which have never been allowed to be asked," he added.

"We have never been given a forum where the big questions of how it was allowed to happen in the face of so much intelligence, they have never been even asked, let alone answered."

He renewed the call for an independent inquiry into the bombing - a demand backed by campaigner Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was among the victims.

Mr Swire said: "Today's agreement still leaves the question of the truth behind Lockerbie.

Truth and justice

"This development has no relevance to that and we still want an independent inquiry into what happened."

Relatives' spokesman David Ben-Aryeah said truth and justice had been the families' demands from the start.

"We have had a form of justice but we have not had anything approaching the truth," he said.

"They asked the foreign secretary for a full and independent inquiry. He rejected that request.

If we were wealthy people, we would turn the whole thing down, but we're not.
Dan Cohen
"It is extremely upsetting that in the last six weeks no fewer than two independent judicial inquiries have been set up, I refer of course to the Kelly inquiry and Deepcut.

"It is extremely upsetting for the UK families, they want the truth."

Under the compensation deal the relatives will receive pay-outs of up to $10m for each victim.

The first $4m would be paid on the lifting of UN sanctions, with a further $4m following if US sanctions are removed.

The final $2m would be paid if Libya was removed from the US State Department's list of states sponsoring terrorists.

Americans Dan and Susan Cohen, who lost their 20-year-old daughter Theo, described the settlement as a "bribe".

Statement of responsibility

The couple, who live in New Jersey, said they would only accept the first payment of $4m.

Mr Cohen, 67, said: "If we were wealthy people, we would turn the whole thing down, but we're not.

"The second payments will be worth a total of $6m but we won't be touching that."

Mrs Cohen, 65, added: "For us the issue is not the money, the issue is the statement of responsibility.

"People say to us 'why don't you take all the money and give it to charity?' But it's blood money, it's an out-and-out bribe."


WATCH AND LISTEN
George Williams
"As far as I am concerned the deal is pretty much done"


Rev John Mosey
"I would much rather have countries like Libya friendly towards us rather than our enemies"



SEE ALSO:
Libya agrees Lockerbie deal
14 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Libya makes claims of opening up
19 May 03  |  Africa
US hints at Lockerbie deal
12 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Country profile: Libya
16 Jul 03  |  Country profiles


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