British Lockerbie probe still possible: US senator

21st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron told US senators angry over the Lockerbie bomber's release that a full new probe into the decision was "not off the table," a US lawmaker said Tuesday.

"We urged the British government to pursue a complete and independent investigation, not simply a document review," Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement after he and three colleagues met with Cameron.

"The Prime Minister listened to our request and said that a full investigation was not off the table," Schumer said after the talks at the the residence of the British ambassador to Washington.

Schumer's comments came after Cameron, in talks at the White House, expressed his personal anger at the release of Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi last year but rebuffed calls for a British government investigation.

"I don't need an inquiry to tell me what was a bad decision," said Cameron, who did tell his top civil servant to go back over the paperwork on the decision, and to see whether more should be released.

In return, Obama stopped short of calling for an official British government inquiry, stating his own personal anger at the Megrahi release, but expressing confidence Cameron could produce the facts of the case.

Scotland's devolved government last year released Megrahi -- the only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing -- on compassionate grounds, after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But Megrahi, the only man convicted over the downing of the Pan Am jumbo jet, which killed 270 people, is still alive in Libya, sparking fury among Americans who believe he should never have been released.

One of the other US senators to meet with Cameron, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, said that Cameron had pledged his government's cooperation with a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing into the matter on July 29.

"The Prime Minister agreed to ensure that his government cooperates with committee requests in connection to the hearing," Menendez said in a statement that seemed to echo Schumer's on the question of a fresh British probe.

"We hope he will reflect upon the request we brought him tonight for his government to launch a full investigation," said Menendez.

© 2010 AFP

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