Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

Africa

Brown 'repulsed' by bomber's welcome in Libya

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-27

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed disgust at the warm reception that Libya gave to convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi upon his return to Tripoli after he was released from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds.

Reuters - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Tuesday he was “angry and repulsed” by the rapturous reception given to Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi on his return to Tripoli in Libya last week.

Brown had not previously commented on Scottish authorities’ release of Megrahi last week on compassionate grounds — a move that has drawn condemnation from the United States government and U.S. relatives of victims. He said Britain was prepared to work with Libya to fight terrorism.

Megrahi, the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie with the loss of 270 lives, flew home from Scotland on Thursday, suffering from terminal cancer. He was greeted in Tripoli by more than 1,000 people cheering and waving Libyan and Scottish flags.

Brown said he made clear when he met Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last month that Britain had no control over decision-making regarding the release of Megrahi, which was a matter for the devolved authorities in Scotland.

Britain has denied wanting Megrahi to be freed to ease diplomatic and commercial ties with Libya, which has the biggest oil reserves in Africa.

“I have to tell you that 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,” Brown told a news conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Failure of leadership

Critics of the Scottish decision have set up a website urging Americans to “boycott Scotland”.

Brown’s office had issued a copy of a letter he wrote to Gaddafi on Aug. 20 expressly asking him to refrain from a “high-profile” welcome for Megrahi.

Opposition politicians had condemned Brown for his silence on the Lockerbie decision over the past few days.  William Hague, the opposition Conservative foreign affairs spokesman, said Brown still had not said whether he supported the release, accusing him of a “failure of leadership”.

The row has brought more negative headlines for Brown, returning to work after a holiday in his native Scotland and facing a battle to reverse poor poll ratings before an election due by next June.

Brown stressed that Britain was determined to fight terrorism around the world, citing its involvement in military campaigns designed to bring stability to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We want to work with countries, even countries like Libya, who have renounced nuclear weapons now and want to join the international community,” Brown said.

He said he did not believe the release of Megrahi would do Britain lasting damage diplomatically.

“I don’t think what has happened will undermine our relationships with Israel or the United States or other countries who engage with us in the fight against terrorism.”
 

Date created : 2009-08-25

COMMENT(S)