Cameron say 'no' to U.S. senators

July 19, 2010 at 7:14 PM
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LONDON, July 19 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron won't meet with four U.S. senators on whether BP helped gain the release of the Lockerbie bomber, the British Embassy said.

The senators from New York and New Jersey want to talk to Cameron about the early release to Libya of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and allegations the release may have been linked to BP's desire to protect its oil interests off the Libyan coast. CNN reported the senators had requested a formal meeting with the prime minister while he is Washington this week.

British diplomats said, however, Cameron has a full schedule for his U.S. visit and won't be able to get together with them, the BBC reported.

The 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killed 270 people, mostly Americans. Scottish officials allowed al-Megrahi's transfer on humanitarian grounds last August because he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. However, nearly a year later, he is still alive.

BP has acknowledged it tried to convince the British government in 2007 to facilitate a prisoner transfer agreement without specifically mentioning al-Megrahi. Cameron has said al-Megrahi's release was "completely and utterly wrong."

The senators -- Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York, and Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez of New Jersey -- released a letter Monday calling for the United Kingdom to conduct a full investigation into al-Megrahi's release and whether BP was involved, CNN said.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has set a hearing for July 29 to investigate the circumstances regarding al-Megrahi's release, including whether BP played a role.

Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's ambassador to the United States, said Friday media reports al-Megrahi was released because of an oil deal involving BP and that the medical evidence used to support his release was paid for by the Libyan government "are not true."

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