Britain secretly offered 14-mn pounds to Gaddafi for withdrawing support to IRA

     Britain secretly offered to pay 14 million pounds to Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for withdrawing support to the Irish Republican Army. The Independent reports that the deal, worth 500 million pounds today, was part of a package of compensation measures to appease the Libyan leader and help open up trade with the North African state during the late 1970s. Britain's then Prime Minister Harold Wilson's letter gave the details of the secret offer, raising fresh questions about whether UK has ever paid Gaddafi compensation. Jason McCue, the lawyer currently negotiating with the Libyans on behalf of victims of IRA bombings, said he was astonished that Britain was prepared to agree to such a pay off. "This all goes to support why our peace and reconciliation delegation is keen to meet and discuss matters in Tripoli. We believe that Anglo-Libyan relations should be flourishing but that certain human tragedies in the past have been overlooked and never reconciled," the paper quoted McCue, as saying. The Foreign Office maintained that it was not aware of the 14 million pounds offer to Gaddafi and the Ministry of Defence said there were no "live issues" regarding compensation for Libya. The documents, transferred from the Foreign Office to the National Archives in Kew, include telegrams and secret policy documents setting out the terms of a settlement with Libya. They include Wilson's personal message to Gaddafi from 1975, in which he makes clear that in return for ending material support for the IRA, Britain was prepared to give the Libyan leader money.

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