Hague: No BP link to Lockerbie deal

BRITISH Foreign Secretary William Hague told the US there was “no evidence” to support claims the release of the Lockerbie bomber was linked to BP oil deals.

Hague wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton amid renewed questions in Washington over the Scottish Executive’s decision to return Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi to Libya last year.

A group of Democrat senators is demanding an inquiry into claims the oil giant lobbied for the release to smooth a deal and an influential senate committee is also to examine the case.

The fresh attention on BP — already battling the political fallout of the Gulf of Mexico spill — threatens to overshadow David Cameron’s first visit to Washington as Prime Minister tomorrow.

Mr Hague spoke at length about the issue with his counterpart, promising to “engage constructively” but reiterating that the British government considered the release “a mistake”.

In his letter — copied to foreign relations committee chair Senator John Kerry — he said: “There is no evidence that corroborates in any way the allegations of BP involvement in the Scottish Executive’s decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds in 2009 nor any suggestion that the Scottish Executive decided to release Megrahi in order to facilitate oil deals for BP.”

He expressed concern and regret at the continuing anguish that the release has caused the families of Megrahi’s victims.

“I would like to make clear that this administration believes that the release of Megrahi was a mistake. I said this myself in October 2009 and the prime minister also wrote to the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to express his opposition to the release.”

An inquiry by the justice committee of the Scottish Parliament found the executive “followed due process under Scottish law”, he said, and “extensive documentation” relating to the release and the prisoner transfer agreement had already been put in the public domain.

Megrahi, the only man convicted of involvement in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988, was freed on compassionate grounds.


Lifestyle

Frank Keogh did not want to get a hearing aid. He was afraid that it would make him look old. But now, just several weeks after having one fitted, he says that he can’t do without it.Hearing tests: A word in your ear

I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent birds arrive to feed their nestlings.Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance by the authorities to face up to the extent of the disease here.Facing up to Lyme disease

A paper published in Current Biology examines the extinction of a colourful little bird which, until recently, thrived in the eastern US. With the appalling environmental catastrophe enveloping Australia, home to 56 of the world’s 370 parrot species, this account of the Carolina parakeet’s demise is timely.Trying to save the parrot is not all talk

More From The Irish Examiner