BRITISH diplomats have described as "unsurprising" Libya’s decision to withdraw half a billion dollars from an account meant to pay compensation to Lockerbie bombing victims’ families.
The money was removed from an escrow account in Switzerland last week by the Libyan central bank, in protest at the US State Department’s refusal to remove Libya from a list of states considered to support international terrorism.
Removal from the list was set down as the criterion for payment of a final tranche of compensation to the families as part of a wider agreement reached in 2003.
Libya has already paid each family $8 million in compensation for the 1988 bombing, which killed 270 people.
The final tranche would be worth about $2 million for each family, but UK officials said there had never been much serious expectation that the money would be paid.
And Marjory McQueen, a Lockerbie councillor who has sometimes spoken for the British families, said that the final sum paid to them was not important.
"No amount of money will ever bring back their loved ones," she said yesterday.