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Libya welcomes bomber; US, UK fume

A hero’s welcome given to the Lockerbie bomber in Libya sparked fury Friday in the United States and Britain which both warned Tripoli of serious diplomatic repercussions.

world Updated: Aug 21, 2009 23:28 IST

A hero’s welcome given to the Lockerbie bomber in Libya sparked fury Friday in the United States and Britain which both warned Tripoli of serious diplomatic repercussions.

Hundreds of people waving Libyan and Scottish flags greeted Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi as he landed in Tripoli late Thursday, hours after a dramatic decision to free him on compassionate grounds as he has terminal cancer.

Megrahi returned with an official delegation ,which included Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam.

President Barack Obama has said he believed the Scottish government had blundered in approving his release.

“We're now in contact with the Libyan government and want to make sure that ... that he's not welcomed back in some way, but instead, should be under house arrest,” said Obama.

The British government was careful not to criticise the decision made by the semi-autonomous Scottish government but expressed outrage at the reception accorded to Megrahi . “It's very important that Libya knows .. that how the Libyan government handles itself in the next few days ... will be very significant in the way the world views Libya's reentry into the civilised community of nations," Foreign Secretary David Miliband told BBC radio.

While defending the decision, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I don't think the reception for Mr. al-Megrahi was appropriate in Libya.”