The British government has promised to “engage constructively” with Washington over claims that the release of the terminally—ill Lockerbie bomber last year was linked to possible BP oil deals with Libya, British media reported on Saturday.
Foreign Secretary William Hague made the pledge after a telephone discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ms. Clinton was responding to claims by a group of four Democrat senators that Abdel Basset al—Megrahi was released to smooth an oil deal with Libya.
Al—Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison last year and transferred to Tripoli with apparently only three months to live due to terminal cancer. More than a year later he is still alive.
Mr. Hague has called that decision — made by the devolved government in Edinburgh — “a mistake.” Al—Megrahi was the only man convicted of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight to the U.S., which crashed in Lockerbie causing 270 deaths.
BP is already under massive political pressure in the U.S. following the catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil giant has admitted lobbying the British government to sign a prisoner transfer.
David Cameron will make his first trip to Washington as British prime minister next week, with talks scheduled with President Barack Obama.
The issue of BP is certain to be on the agenda.
The prisoner transfer agreement with Libya was signed by the former Labour government in 2007 — the same year that BP sealed a 900—million—dollar exploration agreement with the North African state.