Ulster Unionist Peer Lord Empey has said that the Government’s decision to appoint Independent assessor regarding Libyan compensation provides some encouragement that the Government is prepared to look at how a measure of justice might be provided for UK victims of Libyan sponsored terrorist attacks.
Lord Empey said:
“Having attended a meeting last night in Parliament with the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP, I was slightly encouraged by his decision to appoint an independent 'assessor' who will probably have a legal background, and be tasked with examining the legal position in the relationship between the UK, Libya and the United Nations. It is at the UN Security Council where the Libyan Assets were frozen and this gave rise to my Private Member's Bill which is currently in the House of Commons. Only the UN Security Council can unfreeze the assets and the UK has a veto on the Security Council.
“The assessor will also look at the question of how much compensation will be required and how many people will be involved. This is all very complicated and delicate work, but is necessary to move things forward.
“While no firm undertakings were given by the Foreign Secretary, the fact is that this is the first time that the Government has done anything other than bat the problem away, which is what has been happening from the time when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. Last summer Boris Johnson give us reason to believe that he would appoint an envoy to negotiate with Libya, but he resigned from office before any appointment was made.
“This week marked the 35th Anniversary of the IRA bomb at the Harrods store in London where six people were killed and ninety injured. The injustice of the current situation was clearly demonstrated at this atrocity. Most of the victims were British, one was an American citizen. The family of the US citizen were properly compensated whereas the families of the British victims were not, even though they were standing beside each other at the time of the blast which was caused by Libyan supplied Semtex.
“The Parliamentary Support Group which is working on behalf of the victims of Libyan supplied weapons, will receive a letter from Jeremy Hunt shortly setting out the terms of reference. This will be eagerly awaited.”