International,  UK Politics

Duke of York scheduled to attend 40th anniversay celebration of Qaddafi coup

The New York Times reports:

In an appearance characteristic for its capricious mischief-making, Colonel Qaddafi heaped praise not only on [Prime Minister Gordon] Brown but on Queen Elizabeth and her second son, Andrew, Duke of York, for helping in the release of the [Lockerbie] bomber, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.

…“And I say to my friend Brown, the prime minister of Britain; his government; the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth; and Prince Andrew, who all contributed to encouraging the Scottish government to make this historic and courageous decision, despite all the illogical objections: this step is for the benefit of relations between Britain and Libya, and it will certainly be positively reflected in all fields of cooperation between the two countries.”

Now of course Qaddafi’s claim about the role of the prime minister, the queen and the prince in the release of al-Megrahi should be taken as seriously as most of Qaddafi’s other public declarations– which is to say, not at all.

But this is more troubling:

The Foreign Office said Friday that it was reconsidering plans for the Duke of York to attend the 40th anniversary celebrations in Tripoli, a trip that would be his third to Libya in a trade-promoting role.

What’s disturbing is not that the plans are being reconsidered, but rather that there were plans in the first place. As David Adler writes at Lerterland:

A member of Britain’s royal family was planning to attend a commemoration of Qaddafi’s 1969 seizure of power in a coup, four decades of absolute rule and a long period of state-sponsored terrorism? How’s that for a little glimpse of Europe’s oil-hungry, baldly amoral Libya policy. The prisoner release is a sideshow.

If representatives of democratic countries need to meet with Qaddafi, they could at least do what now-Vice President Joe Biden did in 2004.