Empey hits back at Arab Parliament over Libya-IRA move

Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Empey hit back at the Arab Parliament over the issue of compensation for victims of Libyan-IRA terrorism.
Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Empey hit back at the Arab Parliament over the issue of compensation for victims of Libyan-IRA terrorism.

UUP Peer Lord Empey has hit back at the Arab Parliament after it called on the United Nations to protect its frozen assets from victims of Libyan-IRA terrorism.

The late Libya dictator Col Gaddafi supplied weaponry and semtex to the IRA during the Troubles and has already paid out compensation to US, German, and French victims of its attacks.

Lord Empey has been pushing a bill through the UK Parliament to resolve the matter, with £10bn of Libyan assets frozen in the UK by the UN.

But on Thursday the group ‘Middle East Monitor’ reported that, the Arab Parliament (an international gathering of Arab nations’ governments, which met in Cairo) has issued a statement calling on the UN, the UN Security Council, and its sanctions committee to “abide by their pledges to protect Libya’s frozen funds and assets abroad, including those frozen in the UK”.

It added “these Libyan funds have been frozen to be preserved and not to be exploited against the Libyan people’s will. They have nothing to do with compensation for acts of violence. The exploitation of these funds is a violation of Libyan sovereignty and UN resolutions.”

But Lord Empey responded that instead of issuing “belligerent” statements, the Arab Parliament should encourage “Libyan authorities to sit down with the UK Government and negotiate a settlement which will satisfy all concerned”.

He added: “There is no doubt that in international law the Government of Libya is responsible for the actions of its former leader Gaddafi.”

The UK has the power to negotiate a deal, he said, as it has a veto at the UN security Council, the permission of which is needed to unfreeze the assets.