Libyan PM lays wreath at London embassy siege site

AP News
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Posted: May 25, 2012 7:46 AM
Libyan PM lays wreath at London embassy siege site

Libya's prime minister on Friday placed a wreath at the spot where a London policewoman was killed by gunfire from the Libyan Embassy in 1984.

Abdurrahim el-Keib, who placed the wreath of white roses and carnations, has pledged that his country would work closely with the British government in a renewed investigation of the killing. A team of London detectives will be going to Libya to continue their investigation.

Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, 25, was policing a demonstration against Libya's then-ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi when an unidentified person sprayed the crowd with bullets, killing her and wounding 10 Libyan demonstrators.

"The Fletcher case is a case that is close to my heart personally," el-Keib said on Thursday when he met Prime Minister David Cameron. "I had friends who were demonstrating that day next to the embassy."

No one has ever been charged for the shootings.

The incident poisoned relations between Britain and the North African state, leading to an 11-day siege of the embassy and a break in diplomatic relations between London and Tripoli. Fletcher's killer has yet to be brought to justice, and the fall of Gadhafi's government after last year's uprising has reawakened interest in her case.

El-Keib used a speech at the Chatham House research institute to say that life inside Libya had changed since the Gadhafi era with the advent of a free press, respect for human rights, and transparency in government.

He said these are the "special values" that led to the successful revolt against Gadhafi.

Under the dictator, he said, Libyans felt like aliens in their own country and lived in fear of security forces and secret police.

The country's infrastructure faces a massive rebuilding job that will focus on health, education, and the economy, he said.