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Libya 'to pay IRA victims £2bn compensation'

Libya is to pay IRA victims billions of pounds for its role in supplying the group with arms, it has been reported.

The Sunday Times claimed Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was to offer around £2 billion in payouts.

The move comes after a delegation of MPs visited the North African country last November.

The cross-party group of three MPs and three members of the Lords met a number of officials from Colonel Gaddafi's regime to discuss the ongoing bid to secure financial redress for Libya's role in arming the republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

Semtex explosives supplied by Libya were one of the IRA's most lethal weapons in its decades-long terror campaign.

Links between the IRA and Colonel Gaddafi are thought to stretch back as far as 1972, and Libya is understood to have supplied the Republican group with Czech-made Semtex in the 1980s, as well as thousands of rifles, small arms and flame throwers.

The Foreign Office would not be drawn on claims that a trade deal between the UK and Libya was expected to be part of the settlement.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said a unit was established last September to provide a "facilitation, logistical and general advisory role" to the campaign seeking compensation, with support being offered from the UK embassy in Tripoli.

She added: "The government is sympathetic to the suffering of the victims and their legitimate attempts to seek redress.

"We believe success is best achieved by direct contacts, which we have helped establish, between the campaign and the Libyan authorities."


From Belfast Telegraph