Cablegate: Encouraging a Measured Response in Event Of

DE RUEHC #6640 2320059
O 200042Z AUG 09

S E C R E T STATE 086640


E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/2019

Classified By: Classified by: NEA Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) SUMMARY -------

1. (S/NF) The Scottish Executive is scheduled to publicly announce on August 20 its decision to release convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi given his terminal cancer and deteriorating medical condition. Department requests that the following demarche be conveyed to Foreign Minister Musa Kusa following the announcement of a decision by the Scottish authorities to release Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi from prison in Scotland and permit his return to Libya. The suggested message should be delivered immediately following any such announcement.

OBJECTIVES ----------

2. (S/REL LIBYA) Department instructs Embassy Tripoli to draw upon the following points: -- The U.S. and Libya have made remarkable strides in the bilateral relationship since 2003. The U.S. values its relationship with Libya and is committed to strengthening our bilateral cooperation. -- In light of Scottish Justice Minister MacAskill,s announcement to grant Megrahi,s application for compassionate release, we strongly urge your government and the Libyan people to show appropriate restraint. -- As you know, the U.S. position has always been that Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland. Megrahi,s release from a Scottish prison is a very sensitive issue for the American public and we encourage you to handle the release in a way that will strengthen the growing relationship between our two countries, rather than hinder its progress. -- Megrahi's return to Libya will elicit a strong negative reaction among the American people. A "hero's welcome" for Megrahi, or any other effort to highlight his return, would be viewed extremely negatively by the White House, especially given the number of American victims and families whose lives were destroyed by his actions. -- Any action by your government to publicly pardon Megrahi for the crimes for which he was convicted will only heighten the negative reaction of the American people and have a lasting effect on our bilateral relationship. (If Megrahi returns to Libya) we ask that you enforce the terms of Megrahi,s life sentence by ensuring he remain in prison or under house arrest. -- Megrahi,s release from prison is also sensitive given the upcoming participation of Libyan Leader Qadhafi in the United Nations General Assembly, which represents his first visit to the United States and an opportunity to set a positive tone for the relationship following the resolution of outstanding issues. -- The U.S. and Libya share areas of strong mutual interest and we believe that restraint by the Libyan government and people upon Megrahi's return will allow our two countries to focus on the future of the relationship.

3.NEA A/S Feltman will reinforce the message of restraint with Libyan Ambassador Aujali in Washington immediately following any Scottish announcement approving the compassionate return of Megrahi to Libya.

4. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

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