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Diplomat to be quizzed over deal with Gaddifi on IRA terror victims

By David Young

Published 13/10/2015

Sir Vincent Fean
Sir Vincent Fean

A top British diplomat faces a grilling tomorrow from MPs looking into the failure to include UK victims of IRA violence in a compensation deal with Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Sir Vincent Fean, who was in charge of the UK's embassy in Libya, will be questioned by Westminster's high-powered Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

The Committee is probing whether some Troubles victims should receive financial compensation from the north African state because its former ruler Muammar Gaddafi supplied large amounts of weaponry, including the explosive Semtex, to the IRA.

The Committee is also working to established how British victims came to be excluded from compensation in relation to the Lockerbie bombing, which was carried out by Libyan agents.

It has been suggested that compensation could be obtained from assets frozen in Britain belonging to the former dictator, who was killed in a coup in 2011.

In 2008 Libya paid £1bn to US victims of Libyan terror attacks, but former prime minister Tony Blair was accused of putting British business interests in Libya ahead of compensation of IRA victims.

The NI Affairs Committee has been handed a copy of an email sent to Mr Blair's office by Sir Vincent in 2008, a few days before the former PM met Gaddafi.

The victims' lawyer Jason McCue told the committee last month that the email made it "very clear that Tony Blair is working with President Bush and Gaddafi to bring out what is known as the Libya claims settlement agreement, which deprived all the British citizens of compensation".

Committee member and DUP MP Gavin Robinson said he would be seeking straight answers from the top diplomat.

"We will be making a strong push to find out what considerations were taken into account in dealings between Blair and Col Gaddafi - what instructions the Ambassador had received from London to guide him in his work."

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