Mandela to Continue Mediating in Lockerbie Affair

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at tao.ca
Mon Apr 9 22:34:46 MDT 2001


What Mandela has really been up to, rather than writing to Thomas Friedman.

Macdonald

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Mandela to Continue Mediating in Lockerbie Affair


Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
April 9, 2001
Posted to the web April 9, 2001

Ali Dellali
Tripoli, Libya

The Libyan leader Col. Moammar Kadhafi and the retired South African
President Nelson Mandela on Sunday evening held lengthy discussions in
Tripoli on the latest developments in the "Lockerbie affair."

Addressing a news conference after the talks, Mandela pledged to continue
efforts aimed at making the other parties to abide by the agreement the two
sides had reached on the affair.

While he was still President, Mandela had helped in breaking the deadlock
over the Lockerbie affair by negotiating the surrender of two Libyans
suspected of masterminding the mid-air explosion of a Pan Am airliner
killing 270 people over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

On 30 January this year, a Scottish court at Camp Zeist in The Netherland
handed a life sentence to one of the suspects, Abdelbasset al-Meghrahi but
acquitted his colleague, Al-Amine Khalifa Fihima.

After this ruling, Mandela had criticised the United States and Great
Britain for refusing to lift sanctions against Tripoli. He said that the two
countries had broken a promise they had made in order to obtain the
extradition of the two Libyans.

On Sunday evening, Col. Kadhafi offered a banquet in honour of Mandela, who
later met with Abelbasset Al-Megrahi's family at his hotel in Tripoli.

"I implore you as a great African statesman to continue your efforts for the
eventual release of my son. I would like to see him before I die," said the
weeping Haja Fatma (77), Abdelbasset's mother, as she shook hands with
Mandela.

Her grandchildren accompanied her. They were Ghada (18), Khaled (15),
Mohamed (8), Ali (6) and Motassem (2) and Abdelbasset's wife who did not
speak.

Mandela promised to continue his efforts until an acceptable settlement is
found.

"I discussed the latest developments of the affair with Colonel Kadhafi and
I hope to meet the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on 28 April", he
added.

The former South African President described his meeting with Kadhafi as
"very fruitful" adding that the Libyan leader had made a major contribution
towards the settlement of the Lockerbie affair.

In a brief interview, one of Abdelbassat's brothers told PANA: "We only want
one thing, the evidence of our brother's guilt. The condemnation of an
innocent person on purely political grounds causes us a lot of pain."


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Macdonald Stainsby
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