Libya: Terrorism

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 1st March 2017.

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Photo of Tom Elliott Tom Elliott UUP, Fermanagh and South Tyrone

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to open negotiations with the Libyan Government on that country's frozen assets and provision for UK victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

​The Government has no plans to amend the UN Security Council Resolution governing the freezing of Libyan assets in the UK. There is no legal basis upon which the UK could seize frozen assets or withhold Libyan assets once the relevant Libyan entities are delisted and the assets unfrozen. Once these assets are released they belong to the people of Libya and by law have to be returned for their benefit.

We have however made clear to the Libyan authorities that resolution of legacy issues remains a priority for us. I raised the issue of compensation in my meetings with Prime Minister Serraj and Deputy Prime Minister Maiteq during the London Ministerial on 31 October 2016. We will continue to encourage the Libyan authorities to engage with UK victims, and their legal representatives, seeking redress, including those seeking compensation.

The Government position remains that it is not able to negotiate with the Libyan government on individual compensation claims, as these are not government-to-government claims. These are private matters best pursued directly with the Libyan authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides facilitation support to victims, their representatives and campaign groups, where it has been requested and is appropriate.

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