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September 21 - 27 2011
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-31
Heroes’ welcome Sarkozy and Cameron take a bow on a visit to liberated Libya
Fighting talk from Met chief I’ll make criminals fear us, says newly appointed commissioner
Point of no return Reports from inside the world’s largest refugee camp
Sharing sounds of Africa Damon Albarn teams up with street musicians for new project
28 23 29 37 38 42 02 03 06 41 44 45
Bonus Ball 49
Bonus Ball 10
There were no winners of Saturday’s £7.1m jackpot and no winners of Wednesday’s £2.5m prize
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ambassador to Libya, said: “Mr Blair is clearly using his Downing Street contacts to further his business interests.”
The meetings took place at a time of intense negotiations with Gaddafi’s regime over the release of Megrahi, convicted of murdering 270 people in the single biggest terrorist atrocity ever committed in Britain.
The bomber, who has cancer, was finally released in August 2009 after doctors wrongly gave him just three months to live.
Mr Blair has always denied involvement in Megrahi’s release — saying that it was a decision taken by the Scottish Executive alone. Last week, a spokesman admitted that Megrahi’s release had been raised by Gaddafi.
Mr Blair has refused to make public the full extent of his meetings in Libya since leaving office in June 2007.
The emails and letters – between Mr Blair’s office, the British ambassador in Tripoli and the Libyan ambassador in London – raise concern over possible conflicts of interest regarding his varied roles as Middle East peace envoy, philanthropist and business consultant.
The documents will also add fuel to suggestions made last year by Gaddafi’s son, Saif, that Mr Blair had advisory links to the Libyan government and the Libyan Investment Authority, which controls a £41billion fund.
Mr Blair has categorically denied the connection.
The documents outline arrangements for the trips in
By Adrian Blomfield in Jerusalem MAHMOUD ABBAS, the Palestinian leader, made an emotional appeal for “justice” from the international community last week as he announced his intent to defy America by seeking the right for his people to be called citizens of their own state.
Burying any hopes in Washington that he could be persuaded to change course at the last moment, Mr Abbas declared his determination to apply for international recognition of a Palestinian state and its full admission into the United Nations.
The president of the Palestinian Authority said he would submit a formal membership application to the Security Council on Friday, moments after he is due to address the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.
2008 and 2009. Mr Blair also held a further private meeting with Gaddafi in June 2010 after Megrahi’s release.
In both 2008 and 2009, the documents show that Mr Blair negotiated to fly to the Libyan capital from Sierra Leone, in a jet provided by Gaddafi.
In 2008, Mr Blair, having met Gaddafi, arranged to fly on to Luton in a Libyan jet.
The first letter was sent on notepaper headed Office of the Quartet Representative, Mr Blair’s title as a Middle East peace envoy, which he took up after resigning as prime minister in June 2007.
The letter, written on June 2 2008, was sent to Omar Jelban, Libya’s ambassador to Britain. It was written by Gavin Mackay, who was based at Mr Blair’s London office in Grosvenor Square, and stated: “Let me begin my [sic] saying that Mr Blair is delighted that The Leader is likely to be able to see him during the afternoon of 10 June and he is most grateful that the Libyan authorities have kindly offered an aircraft to take him from Freetown to Tripoli and back to London.”
Details of the 2009 meeting feature in emails between Victoria Gould, Mr Blair’s events organiser, and Sir Vincent Fean, former British ambassador to Libya. The correspondence shows that Tim Collins, a billionaire friend of Mr Blair, attended the meeting with Gaddafi.
Miss Gould wrote to Sir Vincent on March 31 to say: “If we were able to stay at the Residence I know TB would be really grateful (as would we all).”
The email gives flight
In making his most explicit endorsement yet of a longstated Palestinian strategy, Mr Abbas is effectively rewriting the rules of Middle East peace negotiations, despite Israeli fury and a threat by the United States to stop him in his tracks by wielding its veto.
In a televised broadcast aired on the eve of his departure for New York, Mr Abbas presented his quest in historic terms, saying he wanted to restore the dignity of the Palestinian people after decades of Israeli occupation.
“It is our legitimate right to demand the full membership of the state of Palestine in the UN, to put an end to a historical injustice by attaining liberty and independence, like the other peoples of the earth,” he said.
Despite his refusal to yield to the threats and pleas of President Barack Obama and his administration, Mr Abbas sought to assuage Israeli details and says the group “need wheels” to return to the airport in Tripoli in time for the flight back to London. Three hours later, Sir Vincent replied: “Just to confirm the residence is at your disposal.”
A week later on April 7 2009, Miss Gould confirms the visit is going ahead. “We have asked the Libyans to collect us from Sierra Leone and bring us to Libya,” she wrote.
She then provides a list of people staying with the ambassador – including herself, Mr Blair, and Catherine Rimmer, a former Downing Street adviser, now Mr Blair’s strategic director.
The rest of the group, including several police officers, Mr Collins – described by Miss Gould as a “very successful investor and philanthropist” — and Mr Blair’s spokesman Matthew Doyle stayed at the Corinthia Hotel, where rooms typically cost about £300 a night.
The 2009 meeting occurred a day after Britain had signed a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya, just one of several steps paving the way for Megrahi’s release from jail.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said last week: “The subject of the conversations during Mr Blair’s occasional visits was primarily Africa, as Libya was for a time head of the African Union; but also the Middle East and how Libya should reform and open up.
“Of course the Libyans, as they always did, raised Megrahi. Mr Blair explained, as he always did, in office and out of it, that it was not a decision for the UK government but for the Scottish Executive.”
fears, insisting that his intention was to redress the “injustices” of occupation not to call into question Israel’s right to exist.
He also reaffirmed his commitment to negotiations with Israel, admitting that genuine Palestinian statehood would be achieved through peace talks not through UN recognition. But his words failed to soften Israeli anger or to lessen the sense of looming crisis. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, accused Mr Abbas of undermining the prospects of reaching a genuine peace after decades of IsraeliPalestinian conflict. “Peace is not achieved by a unilateral approach to the UN,” he said.
“Peace will only be attained by direct negotiation with Israel.”
Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza strip, also criticised the action, saying it was “risky”.
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before flying to Poland, Mr Osborne said the need for action was getting more urgent. Eurozone leaders needed to send “a clear signal that they truly recognise the gravity of the situation and that they are dealing with it,” he said.
The US is urging eurozone ministers to set aside more money to support indebted members. EU ministers promised several months ago to expand the €440 billion (£384.5 billion) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a fund available to help eurozone members struggling to pay their debts. Mr Geithner suggested that the fund should be dramatically expanded by borrowing money from the European Central Bank.
Germany strongly rejected the plan, saying the best way to raise more money for the bail-out fund was a new tax on international financial transactions, something America refused to support. Mr Geithner’s tone grated with European delegates. Didier Reynders, the Belgian finance minister, told Reuters: “I’d like to hear how the US will reduce its deficits … and its debts.” Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Eurogroup, added: “We are not discussing the expansion or increase of the EFSF with a non-member of the euro area.” Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, said expanding the EFSF would put too much of a burden on taxpayers. Austria’s delegate, Maria Fekter, said Mr Schaeuble had called for the US to participate in the bail-out fund too, which Mr Geithner “ruled out emphatically”.
The European leaders said they would wait until October to decide whether to release an €8bn tranche of bail-out money to Greece. The move will mean the next set of talks is again held against a deadline of Greece running out of money. Athens has said its reserves to pay wages and pensions will run out in October.
Evangelos Venizelos, the Greek finance minister, vowed to meet the targets. “All Greeks must understand that if tough decisions are not taken and applied now, what will happen is truly dramatic.”
Separately, the Institute for International Finance, which represents 440 of the world’s largest banks, said it had formed a plan whereby the BRIC emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – could help boost a bond buy-back programme to reduce Greek debt.
The proposals, due to be discussed at a meeting alongside the International Monetary Fund this week, are designed to double existing international proposals for a €20bn bond buy-back.