HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc843-4
13. Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

Pursuant to his recent meeting with the Lockerbie relatives, when he expects to make a decision on setting up a public inquiry into the international aspects of Lockerbie. [69589]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mike O'Brien)

As the Foreign Secretary told the House on 11 July, he has explained to the families of the Lockerbie victims that he does not see a case for a public inquiry. A successful criminal process has convicted an agent of the Libyan intelligence services of carrying out the attack. Public inquiries are less worthwhile when there has already been an exposition of the case in a criminal trial. The passage of time since Lockerbie would make a public inquiry of still more uncertain value. However, we are still considering whether aspects of Lockerbie, including international aspects, warrant further study. We shall inform the relatives of the victims as soon as we have come to a conclusion.

Mr. Dalyell

What knowledge does the Foreign Office have of a payment of $11 million on or about 23 December 1988 from Iranian sources via a bank in Lausanne, the Banque Nationale de Paris and the Hungarian development bank to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine? What knowledge does the Foreign Office have of a payment on or about 25 April 1989 to Mohammed Abu Talb, an "incriminee" of the Lockerbie trial and a long-term suspect?

Mr. O'Brien

My hon. Friend's question is, no doubt, an appetiser for the Adjournment debate that we hope to hold later this evening. The answers to his questions are complex, and I hope to be able to set them out in the reply to that debate. I will happily try to cover that point and many, many others.

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