Lord Empey leads Libyan compensation delegation

Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Empey, led a delegation of cross-party MPs to discuss the progress of his Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill with Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Treasury officials in Whitehall yesterday. The Bill seeks to use frozen Libyan assets to fund much needed compensation for victims of Libyan sponsored terrorism.

Lord Empey said:

“The struggle for appropriate compensation for the victims of Libyan supplied semtex used by the IRA has carried on for decades. I have met with countless Ministers and officials and repeatedly face the same obstructive stalling time and time again.

“Yesterday, I led a group of Ulster Unionist, DUP and Conservative MPs to go over the fine details and technicalities of the derogations and sanctions surrounding the frozen assets.

“We heard that with regard to the sanctions in place it is the Treasury’s legal team that have judged that we cannot touch the funds, however, it was made clear that no precedent case law underpins their decision.

“Also, as we are on course to leave the European Union in the next 2-3 years, the removal of the EU sanction currently imposed should be negotiated during the Brexit process. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office must signal their intent to pursue this action.

“I have been consistently told by consecutive UK Governments that the resolution of the Libyan compensation claims are at the top of their priority list. The reality that I and Westminster colleagues deduced yesterday is that political forces may be blocking progress on the matter for various diplomatic and financial reasons.

“The UK Government must be at the service of UK citizens especially those who have suffered so terribly. My colleagues and I will not stop until the victims and their families get what they deserve.”

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