NEW YORK (AP) – A woman whose brother died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, says she and another victim’s relative met in New York City with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, whose country has been blamed for the attack.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, attorney Lisa Gibson said the meeting with Gadhafi at the Libyan Mission to the United Nations on Wednesday was arranged through a Libyan ambassador.
“He generally said he was sorry for the loss, but we didn’t go into any details about the bombing,” Gibson said of the 10-minute meeting with Gadhafi, who making his first visit to the U.S. to attend the U.N. General Assembly.
Gibson’s brother was stationed in the Army in Berlin and was going home for Christmas when the plane blew up, killing 270 people.
Last month, a Scottish magistrate ordered the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi after he was diagnosed with fatal prostate cancer. Though Libyan security forces cleared away most of the thousands gathered at the airport, hundreds remained to greet al-Megrahi upon his arrival, infuriating the victims’ families. Gibson said she gave the Libyan leader a pen and a card, in which she told him she had been praying for him. “He was very friendly and cordial to us,” Gibson said. “Honestly, I think he was touched by us being there.”
Gibson said she’s been to Libya three times, and through her humanitarian organization, Peace and Prosperity Alliance, she’s helped to raise money for Libyan children with AIDS and other humanitarian projects.
The Libyan leader has been trying to restore his country’s standing in the world and transform it from a pariah state to an accepted member of the international community. Gadhafi surprised the international community by agreeing to dismantle his country’s weapons of mass destruction programs. The United States restored ties with Libya in 2006, after Libya agreed to resolve the Lockerbie case in a deal that included paying compensation to the victims’ families. Gibson said the other person who attended the meeting had lost his father in the bombing.