Gaddafi says: "We have nothing to do with the downing of Pan Am 103"

SKY NEWS ©  02/05/00

Colonel Gaddafi has said Libya had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing. On the eve of the Lockerbie trial, he told Sky News he would abide by the court's decision, and that he was "sympathetic" to the families of the victims. Asked by Sky's James Matthews if he would accept the verdict as "fair and just", the Libyan leader said: "Of course, all parties have agreed to accept the rule of the law." But he said he did not believe there would be more investigations into the actions of Libya.

"By and large the responsibility as far as this matter is concerned is an individual one," said Col Gaddafi. "The court is sitting to judge them, not whether they are... Libyan agents. The court is sitting to decide if they are guilty or not." In the interview from Tripoli, he said it was "not really probable or very likely" there would be investigations if the suspects were found guilty. "If you go further than that it becomes an endless chain," he said.

Colonel Gaddafi laughingly dismissed suggestions the two suspects were acting under his orders as "an absurd question that should not have been asked". He pointed out he has had no political or administrative responsibilities since 1977, because he handed power to the Libyan people, and said: "It is unreasonable that a person would give orders for an act such as that. "Anyone can commit such an act. Even if it's committed by a Libyan citizen, this does not mean the involvement or condemnation of Libya as a state."

The Libyan leader, who is known as 'the Guide of the Revolution', said anyone could have carried out the bombing. America had committed "really grisly crimes" and had made many enemies, he said. Most of the 259 passengers on board Flight 103 to new York were Americans travelling home for the Christmas holidays. He also said relations between Libya and Britain were now good and "prayed" for the relatives of the Lockerbie disaster. "I am sympathetic to all the relatives of all these victims and I pray for them," he said.

Video of the interview is available on the Sky News site at: http://www.sky.com/news/video/