[JURIST] British officials met Tuesday with lawyers for victims of Irish Republican Army (IRA) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] bombings in the 1980s and 90s to discuss seeking compensation from Libya. The meeting came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] said Sunday that that British government would support efforts to win compensation [NYT report] from the Libyan government, which is accused of providing the IRA with explosives. Brown said that although the British government will not negotiate directly with Libya, it will establish a foreign office dedicated to getting compensation for the victims. Brown's statement is an apparent reversal of policy, as the Sunday Times of London reported that they had obtained documents showing that Brown did not support [Times report] seeking victims' compensation.
Tuesday's meeting comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding the release [JURIST report] to Libya of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi [BBC profile] who was recently diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. In November, Libya made its final deposit [JURIST report] to a $1.5 billion fund for US terrorism victims that will be used to settle claims for victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the 1986 bombing of the La Belle disco [BBC backgrounder] in Berlin, Germany. Libya has also made payments to compensate British victims of the Lockerbie bombing, but no agreement has ever been reached to compensate victims of the IRA attacks.