Northern Ireland

Victim compensation talks with Libya 'making progress'

Talks to secure compensation from the Libyan government for victims of IRA violence are "making progress" the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has said.

However, he described as "specuation" a newspaper report stating the Libyan and British governments were on the verge of a deal to secure IRA victims £2m each.

Colonel Gaddafi's regime supplied the IRA with weapons during the Troubles.

Mr Donaldson said a "definitive outcome" had not yet been reached.

The Lagan Valley MP is a member of a cross-party delegation which has held a number of meetings with Libyan officials in a bid to secure compenation for victims.

"We are pleased that we have got to a point where we believe that in the not too distant future there is the prospect of a settlement being reached," Mr Donaldson said.

'Sensitive stage'

He said the figures quoted in a report in the Sunday Tribune newspaper probably related to a legal action taken by up to 180 individual victims who have already initiated proceedings against the Libyan government, "rather than suggesting that every victim of IRA terrorism in Northern Ireland would receive £2m".

"I'm not even saying that victims who took the legal case will get £2m. That is speculation based on the American settlement and in fact does not relate to a settlement that has been reached yet in relation to Northern Ireland," he said.

The DUP MP said he did not even want to discuss "ball park figures" because the negotiations with the Libyan government were "at a very sensitive stage".

"To quote figures or to suggest things raises expectations and also potentially damages the prospect of securing a settlement, so I don't want to go into the detail of what has been put before the Libyan government."