A ground-breaking meeting between Libyan diplomats and campaigners seeking compensation for the victims of Tripoli-backed IRA terrorism has been hailed as a significant step toward a settlement.
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson described his party's first ever direct encounter with representatives from Colonel Gaddafi's government as very productive.
Mr Donaldson was accompanied by DUP colleague Nigel Dodds to the talks at the Libyan embassy in London.
The party has been lobbying on behalf of bereaved relatives who are seeking a multi-million pound payout from the North African state for its role in providing arms and explosives to the IRA during the Troubles.
The 45-minute meeting marked the first occasion that the Libyan authorities have engaged with anyone representing the campaign.
“This was a very significant step forward for the victims,” Mr Donaldson said afterwards.
“This is a step in the process that will hopefully lead to a settlement of this issue.”
The Lagan Valley MP said the diplomats had undertaken to compile a report on the discussions and send it to senior officials in Colonel Gaddafi's administration in Tripoli.
Mr Donaldson said he had told the Libyan officials that if they wanted to further improve relations with the UK the issue of compensation would have to be sorted.
“We stated to the Libyan representatives that what we wanted was to bring closure to this issue and reach a settlement so the families could move on,” he said.
“We will now await a reponse from Tripoli.”