Libya-IRA victims petition Cameron (NewsLetter)
Victims of Libya-sponsored IRA terrorism presented over 100 letters to the Prime Minister yesterday, pressing for the completion of compensation payments from the North African country.
But a Government spokesman responded that compensation from Libya was a matter for private campaigners.
Jonathan Ganesh, of the Docklands Victims Association, said they were appealing to David Cameron “to immediately engage with the new interim Libyan government to resolve this matter”.
Mr Ganesh was himself injured in the IRA Canary Wharf bomb of 1996.
Many such IRA bombs used semtex supplied by former Libyan dictator Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Mr Ganesh noted yesterday that Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the new interim government of Libya, signed an agreement last year “apologising for Gaddafi’s support for IRA terrorism and also expressing a willingness to pay compensation to UK semtex victims”.
“I have personally met officials from the new Libyan regime and they are willing to settle the compensation issue,” Mr Ganesh said.
“We have seen movement on restoring UK trade with Libya but this was to happen only after the victims’ issues were resolved, so we want to highlight this with Mr Cameron in case there has been a misunderstanding.”
Gemaa Berezag was one of the victims who handed in a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday. Her husband Zaoui was severely injured during the IRA attack on Canary Wharf.
“My husband is now blind and his brain injuries have left him with a mental age of five,” she said.
“His condition is getting worse. So I’m pleading today with the Prime Minister and the new Libyan government to help all those left disabled due to Gaddafi’s semtex.”
Willie Frazer, of Northern Ireland victims’ group FAIR, said there was a genuine urgency.
“Many IRA victims have now died, including some of those on our original Libyan writ,” he said.
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said that the death of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has reinforced the campaign to secure compensation from Libya. The DUP man has met with Libyan diplomatic representatives about the matter.
“Whilst Mr Cameron stated that the issue was high on his list of priorities with the new (Libyan) government there still remains a need for this issue to be settled,” Mr Dodds said.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said that they would “respond to the letters in due course”.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesman said: “Individual compensation claims are being pursued through private campaigns. The FCO will continue to offer facilitation support to these campaigns where it has been requested.”
He added: “Achieving a comprehensive resolution and reconciliation for UK victims of IRA terrorism is an important priority for the British Government in its relationship with Libya.
“HM Government is working to promote a broad and lasting reconciliation between Libya and UK communities directly affected by Gaddafi’s support of terrorism.
“FCO Minister Mr Burt raised this issue with Libyan Prime Minister Al-Kib during his visit last month. We are working with Libyan authorities on how we take forward a range of activities to promote reconciliation that would benefit all communities.”



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