July 21, 2010 / 11:30 AM / 9 years ago

TIMELINE-Ups and downs of British-Libyan ties

July 21 (Reuters) - Scotland’s most senior politician said on Wednesday there was no conspiracy in his country’s decision to release the Lockerbie bomber following U.S. questions over oil company BP’s influence on the process.

Alex Salmond, who heads the government in Scotland’s dissolved assembly, was responding to U.S. lawmakers’ concerns that BP (BP.L)(BP.N) may have had a hand in Scottish authorities’ release last year of a Libyan convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Here is a timeline of British-Libyan relations in the last 25 years:

April 1984 - Shots fired from Libyan embassy in London kill a policewoman guarding demonstrators protesting against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

— Britain cuts diplomatic ties on April 22.

Dec 21, 1988 - Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York is blown up over Lockerbie killing 270 people.

Nov 14, 1991 - The United States and Britain accuse Libyans Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima of Lockerbie bombing. Libya denies involvement.

— Dec 8 - Libya says it will try Lockerbie suspects itself.

March 1992 - Security Council Resolution 748 tells Libya to surrender suspects by April 15 or face worldwide ban on air travel and arms sales and restrictions on diplomatic presence.

Dec 1995 - Britain orders the expulsion of Libya’s senior diplomat in London; in reprisal Libya orders a senior British diplomat to leave the country.

April 1999 - Libya hands over the suspects in the Lockerbie bombing. They are tried in the Netherlands under Scottish law. The EU suspends sanctions against Libya, U.S. sanctions remain.

Jan 2001 - Three judges unanimously find Megrahi guilty of murder and acquit Fahima. Megrahi given mandatory life sentence to be served in a prison in Glasgow.

March 2002 - Judges turn down Megrahi’s appeal, upholding his murder conviction.

March 2003 - Libya reaches political agreement with the United States and Britain to accept civil responsibility for the bombing. Libya agrees to pay up to $10 million per victim, $2.7 billion in total.

— Nov - Scottish judges rule that Megrahi convicted of the Lockerbie bombing must serve a minimum of 27 years before he can apply for parole.

— Dec - Libya announces it will abandon weapons of mass destruction programmes and open its territory to international weapons inspectors.

March 2004 - Tony Blair becomes the first British prime minister to visit Libya since Winston Churchill during World War Two.

May 2007 - Blair in his second visit to Libya, hails what he calls Britain’s transformed relations with Libya after meeting Gaddafi as the countries unveil major energy and defence deals.

— Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi says Libya would buy British missiles and air defence systems. British oil giant BP also signs a major natural gas exploration agreement with Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation.

Aug. 2009 - Megrahi is set free on compassionate grounds and arrives home to a hero’s welcome. The next day, Britain condemns the celebrations in Tripoli.

Sept. 2009 - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown rejects suggestions that his government put pressure on Scotland to release Megrahi to improve Britain’s trade links with Libya.

— Brown says he would support compensation claims against Libya by families of IRA victims who say Tripoli helped arm the guerrillas. Days later, Libya says it will fight any claims for compensation. Britain has said Libya shipped weapons in the 1980s and 1990s to guerrillas fighting to end British rule of Northern Ireland.

July 2010 - Britain says it has no plans to re-examine a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya after oil company BP confirms it had lobbied the Brown government on the issue.

— Salmond says there was no conspiracy in his country’s decision to release the Lockerbie bomber, following U.S. questions over oil company BP’s influence on the process.

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