London: In a goodwill gesture, Libyan
leader Muammar Gadaffi is to pay up to 2 billion pounds to
victims of Irish terrorism for his role in supplying shiploads
of deadly plastic explosives to the IRA, a leading British
newspaper reported today.
About 800 million pounds will go directly to victims of
the violence. First in line will be the 147 families of those
caught in atrocities in which Semtex, the plastic explosive
supplied by Libya, was used, `The Sunday Times` reported.
A trade deal between Britain and Libya is also expected
to be part of the historic settlement. Gadaffi is seeking to
present the payment as a goodwill gesture and is not expected
to admit liability, the report said.
Semtex supplied by Gadaffi`s regime was used by the Irish
Republican Army (IRA) in at least 10 atrocities, including the
bombing of Harrods in 1983 and Enniskillen in 1987.
The Real IRA used it at Omagh in 1998, killing 29 people
and injuring 220. It was used in the bombing of Pan Am Flight
103 at Lockerbie, when 270 were killed, for which Libya has
paid over 5 million pounds to each family.
A source close to the talks said: "Gadaffi can now make a
major humanitarian gesture which will end the legal actions
and build diplomatic and business relations with the UK."
The IRA victims welcomed the prospect of a payout.
Anna Dixon, 73, who with her husband Jim, also 73, was
injured at Enniskillen, said: "Jim`s injuries were horrendous-
the doctors said it was as if his head had been crushed like
an eggshell. He can`t close his mouth easily and he is in
constant pain due to nerve damage. The doctors say they can do
nothing. I would like some of this money to go to pain
An additional 314 million pounds could be added if the
US government agrees to co-operate. This money is left over
from an earlier USD 1.5 billion compensation package for
American victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism, including the
Families received more than 5 million pounds each and it
is suggested that similar amounts can be paid to American
victims of IRA terrorism, or Irish-born casualties who moved
Politicians will be briefed on Wednesday about progress
in the talks, the report said.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We believe success
can be achieved through the direct contacts which we have
helped establish between the campaign and the Libyan