Blair's Libya Talks Included Prisoner Deal
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Posted 29 August 2009 - 09:32 AM
The son of Colonel Gaddafi has said his father targeted the transfer of the Lockerbie bomber more than two years ago during talks with Tony Blair. In early 2007, the then prime minister met with the Libyan leader in a desert tent to discuss trade and oil. Although Abdelbaset al Megrahi's name was never mentioned, Gaddafi's son said a prisoner transfer arrangement agreed as part of the "deal in the desert" deliberately targeted the convicted Libyan.
But Saif al Islam al Gaddafi said those discussions had nothing to do with Megrahi's eventual, controversial release on compassionate grounds last week. His comments were reported as an opinion poll showed many Britons believed the decision to release the bomber was connected to British oil interests in Libya.
Of those questioned, 45% thought Megrahi's return had more to do with oil than his terminal illness - a statement only 24% disagreed with.
The Populus poll for The Times found 61% of the 515 people quizzed disagreed with the decision to free Megrahi, compared to 27% who agreed.
In an interview with The Herald newspaper, Mr Gaddafi said: "For the last seven to eight years we have been trying very hard to transfer Mr Megrahi to Libya to serve his sentence here.
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