Scotland: No trade ties to Lockerbie move

Aug. 30, 2009 at 7:49 PM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond says there was no connection between the release of the Lockerbie bomber and British trade talks with Libya.

Salmond told the BBC Sunday that London was not involved in the Aug. 20 release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. Ministerial letters leaked to The Sunday Times of London indicated the Libyan was included in a 2007 prisoner transfer due to "overwhelming national interests."

It is on the public record, Salmond said, that his administration opposed the prisoner transfer agreement between Westminster and Tripoli, which was struck during negotiations on an oil exploration contract for BP worth billions of dollars.

"We didn't think that the Lockerbie decision should be linked to trade or oil decisions by anyone who looked at the coincidence that the prisoner transfer agreement was being negotiated at the same time as commercial contracts," Salmond told the BBC.

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