INTERNATIONAL

Libyan spies funded `terrorist'

London: Libyan secret agents in London gave around �185,000 to an Islamist activist linked by American prosecutors to the Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations, court documents reveal. U.S. officials suspect the $340,000 given to Abdurahman Amoudi, an Eritrean-born American who is a leading Muslim activist in the U.S., was destined to help militant volunteers travel to Iraq to fight U.S. and British forces. Mr. Amoudi says the cash was for peaceful campaigning. The disclosure of the gift, made last August, will embarrass Britain since the U.K. Foreign Office was then involved in negotiations with the regime of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi. "It is hardly ideal. You do not really want your partner in peace handing out large sums of cash to dodgy characters in hotel rooms in your capital city while you discuss everlasting friendship," said one former British Government foreign relations adviser. The talks presented as a major diplomatic coup for the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, resulted in Libya renouncing terrorism and its weapons of mass destruction, accepting responsibility for downing a jet airliner over Lockerbie and being partially readmitted to the international community. United Nations sanctions against Libya were lifted on September 9 last year — just three weeks after the London incident. U.S. sanctions remain. —

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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