Brown does a U-turn, vows to support IRA victims suing Libya

     Hours after refusing to get involved in the issue, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has vowed to support IRA victims' families in their fight to get compensation from Libya. He declared that he would set up teams of Foreign Office officials dedicated to helping victims and their loved ones sue Libya. "I care enormously about the impact of all IRA atrocities on the victims, their families and friends," The Sun quoted him, as saying. Earlier, Brown had written to the families' lawyers saying a compensation bid would be fruitless, and insisted that it was more important to keep Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi as a friend on terrorism and trade. However, he took a U-turn after his letter surfaced. But his move added fuel to the lingering row over the Lockerbie bomber, in which critics claim terminally-ill Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was freed to protect oil and trade deals with Libya. "I believe the reason why the Government is not asking Libya for an apology or compensation is because of one oil deal with BP. I really believe that. It breaks my heart if we are doing deals for oil with the lives of British citizens," said Jonathan Ganesh, who was injured in the 1996 Docklands bomb in London. Furious campaigners pointed out that former US President George Bush forced a 1.5 billion dollar compensation settlement for terror victims out of Gaddafi, despite threats of an end to trade deals with America. Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: "The Prime Minister's announcement is a stunning admission that the Government has failed to support the families of the victims of IRA terrorism in their pursuit of compensation from Libya." On Sunday, cancer specialist Professor Karol Sikora revealed that Libya's government had paid to say that Megrahi had just three months to live. He confirmed he had originally given the terror convict one year to live. But he later changed his mind when he was told he would only be freed if his life expectancy was three months or less.

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