Diana inquest told MI6 rejected plan to kill Milosevic


BRITAIN:A former head of MI6 confirmed yesterday that a proposal to assassinate Serbia's former president Slobodan Milosevic was briefly considered within the service during the early 1990s, but rejected.

Sir Richard Dearlove's admission came as he gave evidence at the inquests at the high court into the deaths of Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed. He was denying claims by Dodi's father, Mohamed al-Fayed, that MI6 was involved in a conspiracy to murder the couple in the Paris crash of August 1997.

Sir Richard said that Mr Fayed's claim that the Duke of Edinburgh had masterminded the plot, which apparently involved precipitating the crash by shining lights in the eyes of the couple's chauffeur, Henri Paul, as the car entered the Alma Tunnel, was absurd. Mr Fayed claims the duke and MI6 secretly run Britain.

Playing with his pen as he sat in the witness box, he said: "It is utterly ridiculous and the same is true of Prince Charles. I don't want to be flippant and I am tempted to think I am flattered but this is such an absurd allegation. It's completely off the map."

The Balkan admission came as Sri Richard attempted to refute an allegation by the renegade former British agent Richard Tomlinson that he had seen plans to murder Milosevic by forcing a car crash in a tunnel.

"An officer working in one of the sections to do with the Balkans had suggested the possibility of assassinating another political personality who was involved in ethnic cleansing. The whole proposal was killed stone dead by the officer's line manager on the basis that his idea was out of touch with service practice, service ethos, and was not a proposal to which serious consideration would be given," he said.

He added that a claim by another former agent, David Shayler, that MI6 had plotted to kill Libya's Muammar Gadafy had been investigated by London's Metropolitan police and was not true.

He was asked by Ian Burnett QC, counsel for the coroner: "During the whole of your time in SIS [ Secret Intelligence Service] from 1966 to 2004, were you ever aware of the service assassinating anyone?" Sir Richard replied: "No I was not." He told Michael Mansfield QC, counsel for Mr al-Fayed, that the agency took no interest in the princess's activities and did not hold a file on Mr Fayed or employ Henri Paul.

"Frankly we did not take any interest in what she was doing," he said. "It's not a national security issue." -