Obama, Britain’s Cameron condemn Lockerbie bomber release

WASHINGTON — British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday turned aside U.S. calls for an investigation into the release of the Lockerbie bomber by Scotland and said there was no indication that oil giant BP had swayed the controversial decision.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON — British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday turned aside U.S. calls for an investigation into the release of the Lockerbie bomber by Scotland and said there was no indication that oil giant BP had swayed the controversial decision.

Both Cameron and President Barack Obama, who met with him at the White House, condemned the release of the Libyan bomber.

Still, Cameron said the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison was not the doing of the British government nor, apparently, the result of any lobbying by BP to win oil concessions from Libya. Rather it was a decision by the government of Scotland on compassionate grounds, he said.

“It was the biggest mass murder in British history, and there was no business letting him out of prison,” Cameron said.

Said Obama: “I think all of us here in the United States were surprised, disappointed and angry.”

Cameron said at a joint White House news conference with Obama that any role that BP may have played in the Lockerbie release “is a matter for BP to answer.” But he went on to say there was no evidence that Scotland’s decision was swayed by BP.

Cameron said he and Obama were in “violent agreement” that the release was a mistake.

However, they did disagree slightly over the issue of an investigation. Several U.S. senators have proposed an investigation, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called on both British and Scottish officials to review the situation.

Obama said he welcomed such a probe and that it was important that all facts be released to the public. Cameron said he, too, agreed that all the facts should released. But, he added, “I don’t think there’s any great mystery here. … I don’t need an inquiry to tell me it was a bad decision. It was a bad decision.”

Cameron also said he understood American anger over the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He said the spill that began April 20 with an explosion aboard a BP-leased oil rig that claimed 11 lives was “a catastrophe” for the environment, the fishing industry and for tourism in the region.

Cameron said he agreed with Obama that “it is BP’s role to cap the leak, clean up the mess and pay the appropriate compensation.” He said that the recent temporary capping of the well by BP was “a step in the right direction.”

At the same time, Cameron said that BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, “is an important company to both” the United States and Britain, noting it was a company that employs thousands of workers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read