Cablegate: Demarche Delivered: Encouraging a Measured Response To
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0683 2321409
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P R 201409Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5181
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1130
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0802
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0571
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5725
S E C R E T TRIPOLI 000683
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG, EUR/WE (NIMA ABBASZADEH), L/LEI (PETER GUTHERIE)
E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/20/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL UK LY
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: ENCOURAGING A MEASURED RESPONSE TO
MEGRAHI'S RELEASE REF: STATE 86640 CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(S) Summary: Charge delivered reftel demarche regarding the release of Abdel Basset al Megrahi to Foreign Minister Musa Kusa on August 20, concurrent with the Scottish Executive's announcement of the decision. Kusa, who listened attentively to our message, assured the Charge that Megrahi would be met at the airport only by his family and that the reception would be low-key. Emphasizing that the U.S. is concerned not only with Megrahi's reception today but also with the way he will be treated in the future, Charge underscored our request that Libya enforce the terms of Megrahi's life sentence. Kusa responded that this was not part of the Scottish decision but that he "would see about it." Separately, the UK Ambassador informed us that he had passed a similar message urging restraint to Libyan External Security Organization Director Dorda, and was seeking a meeting with Muammar Qadhafi to deliver a personal letter from PM Gordon Brown, also urging restraint. End Summary.
2.(S) Charge (accompanied by Pol/Econ Chief, notetaker) delivered ref points to Foreign Minister Musa Kusa at 1410 local time, just as the Scottish Executive was announcing its decision to release Abdel Basset al Megrahi from prison. After listening attentively, Kusa responded that Megrahi would be met at the airport only by his family in a low-profile manner. Charge emphasized that the U.S. was concerned not only with Megrahi's reception today but the way he would be treated in Libya today, tomorrow, and for the rest of his life. Charge underscored that we are asking the Libyan Government to enforce the terms of Megrahi's life sentence by ensuring that he remain in prison or under house arrest. Kusa, who raised his eyebrows at this point and did not look happy when it was repeated, responded that this was not part of the Scottish decision but that he "would see about it." Kusa agreed that the issue of Megrahi's return was very serious for the bilateral relationship and that both sides should work to ensure that it did not jeopardize the progress made thus far.
3.(C) Separately, UK Ambassador to Libya Vicent Fean told Charge August 20 that a team of at least three Libyan officials - MFA A/S-equivalent for European Affairs Obeidi, Qadhafi's translator and personal aide Fuad Zlitny, and Libya's Charge d'Affaires in London - was in Scotland preparing for Megrahi's return to Libya. Fean expects the plane carrying Megrahi will depart Scotland at 1500 Tripoli time, arriving around 2000. Fean told the Charge that he had a personal letter from PM Gordon Brown to Muammar Qadhafi, urging restraint on Megrahi's return and that he was seeking a meeting with Qadhafi today to deliver the letter. Fean planned to convey the same message to External Security Organization Director Abuzaid Dorda, with whom Fean coincidentally had a previously scheduled meeting. Fean noted that FM David Miliband planned to call Kusa with a similar message.
4.(S) Comment: Kusa took time for this meeting out of what appeared to be a very busy day, receiving us in the Prime Minister's office and bumping us ahead of a gaggle of waiting officials. He seemed to take our message seriously, and nodded in agreement with the points about the importance of this issue to the bilateral relationship. In our view, Kusa genuinely understands and appreciates the sensitivity and importance of this issue, but Qadhafi will be the ultimate decision maker on Megrahi's role in Libya after his return. We continue to monitor the situation. End Comment. POLASCHIK