White House Correspondent
Ahead of Tuesday's scheduled meeting between President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, the White House confirmed that the president would take up the issue of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al Megrahi of Libya, whose recent release from prison came under criticism.
Last Thursday, BP confirmed
that it lobbied the British government to expedite the release of Libyan prisoners in order to finalize a drilling agreement with Libya, but the company denied that it tried to intervene in the case of al Megrahi, convicted for his role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans and 11 on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, where the plane went down.
BP has said the Scottish government made the decision to release al Megrahi.
The British oil company has been in the hot seat following its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and has faced increased scrutiny over its business dealings.
The meeting between the two heads of state, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, is likely to focus on Afghanistan
-- where nearly 9,000
British troops are stationed -- economic recovery and global markets, and of course, the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Though BP has temporarily capped the well, the White House on Monday announced it was monitoring the situation for possible leaks. Gibbs explained: "We had some concerns over the past 24 hours about commitments that BP had made that we did not feel that they were adequately living up to in terms of that monitoring," but that those issues had been resolved in later conversations.
As for the Lockerbie bomber, Gibbs said that "our viewpoint on this case last year was well known, and that was we opposed the release of the Lockerbie bomber." Addressing senators who last week called for an investigation
into whether BP had a role in securing Megrahi's release, he replied, "I think in many ways that will be up to the British government to determine . . . I do not know the role that BP played. We were unaware of any role that they played in rendering an opinion. If they did, we certainly didn't agree with the opinion that he should be released, and that's what we enunciated to the government."