Britain told US not to intervene in Lockerbie bomber release

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The British ambassador to the US told America it should not intervene to stop the release of the Lockerbie bomber from a Scottish prison, according to leaked diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to the Daily Telegraph.

Nigel Sheinwald told James Steinberg, the US Deputy Secretary of State, that he was "concerned" that the demands of victims' families were unduly influencing US policy.

His comments came during critical negotiations over whether Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the murder of 270 passengers on Pan Am Flight 103, should be switched to a Libyan jail to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Sir Nigel was Tony Blair's foreign policy adviser between 2003 and 2007 and played a key role, alongside the Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, in bringing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi back into the international fold. He was at Mr Blair's side for the first meeting with Colonel Gaddafi in 2007 that resulted in a substantial BP oil contract.

The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to the Daily Telegraph, is dated February 2009. It states: "Sheinwald asked that the US continue to consult with the UK in the possible transfer of ailing Pan Am bomber Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi from the UK to Libya. Specifically, he said HMG supported the discussions this week between UK and US officials to define a common strategy...

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