Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Lockerbie: US will not divorce UK

Louis B Susman
The new US ambassador is on his first official visit to Scotland

The US Ambassador to the UK has stressed that good relations with Scotland will survive the row over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

But during his first official visit to Scotland Louis Susman also highlighted America's disappointment.

Mr Susman said the relationship with the UK was like a marriage but also strong enough to thrive.

Louis B Susman took over as ambassador to Britain in the week that Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was released.

The ambassador is known to be a close confidant of the President and said America had fully expected the Lockerbie bomber to remain in prison in Scotland.

Good friends disagree, I compare it sometimes to a marriage, you have a little fight, you are a little mad but you don't get divorced
Louis B Susman
US Ambassador to Britain

He told BBC Scotland that America might have sought to have al Megrahi extradited at an early stage, if they had thought that the Libyan would end up being released.

He said: "We never anticipated his release, I think if we ever thought he would be released we probably would have asked for extradition early on."

He continued: "Good friends disagree, I compare it sometimes to a marriage, you have a little fight, you are a little mad but you don't get divorced."

Mr Susman made the comments on a visit to the Scottish Parliament, where he was welcomed in the debating chamber by Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson.

He was also welcomed by Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, who later hosted a reception in Edinburgh.

The Ambassador used the event to launch the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) and the U.S. Government Fellows Alumni Group.

The IVLP, which began in 1940, offers talented professionals the opportunity to travel to the United States and learn more about America while strengthening links between Scotland and the U.S. in key areas.



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Obama criticises Lockerbie release
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