Britain’s professed ethical dimension to foreign policy in relation to export of arms did not appear to apply to Libya

Jonathan Ganesh (‘We are hoping for progress to help Libya-IRA victims in the new year,’ December 26th) calling on the UK government to compensate victims of IRA-Libya terror says it has been very distressing to know US victims of Gaddafi Semtex received substantial compensation and UK victims received nothing.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 30th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 10:57 am
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The answer to this can be found close to home.

A report compiled by House of Commons MPs from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee called on the UK government to finance a compensation fund for victims of IRA attacks using Libyan explosives.

This report found that the administration led by former prime minister Tony Blair missed a vital opportunity to act on behalf of IRA victims by placing this issue firmly on the negotiating table to secure a compensation package. While the Libyan leader was responsible for shipments of weaponry around the world, civil society cannot ignore the source of these weapons.

In 2007, agreement was reached on co-operation between Tony Blair and Colonel Gadaffi on defence matters in the training of specialised Libyan military units.

Despite the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984 and the killings of 270 people in the Lockerbie bombing in Scotland in 1988, the British government approved for export to Libya military hardware which included projectile launchers, crowd control ammunition, small arms ammunition, teargas/irritant ammunition, electric batons, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles and explosives.

Britain’s professed ‘ethical dimension’ to foreign policy in relation to the export of arms to suspect regimes did not appear to apply to Libya.

The British government prides itself on being one of the world’s leading champions of peace, but they are also one of the world’s leading suppliers of weapons of war. They are also masters of double standards.

Tom Cooper, Dublin