Victims of the 1996 Docklands bomb have welcomed news that the Government has raised the issue of compensation with the new Libyan government.

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond revealed this week that he put the issue on the agenda during a surprise visit to support prime minister-designate Fayez Sarraj and his “government of national accord” (GNA) earlier this month. However, he indicated that the issue would take time to resolve.

The Docklands Victims Association, in tandem with other support groups, notably in Northern Ireland, have been campaigning for years to get compensation from Libya after Colonal Muammar Gaddafi supplied the IRA with Semtex for their explosives, one of which rocked the Docklands in 1996.

In the Commons, Mr Hammond told DUP MP Ian Paisley: “Prime Minister Sarraj is aware of our focus on this issue but it is a question of timing.

“At the moment the [GNA] hasn’t got access to the great majority of its ministries or its civil servants. It hasn’t got access to its assets.

Fighter: Jonathan Ganesh holding photos of his friends, John Jeffries and Inam Bashir, who were killed in the Docklands IRA bomb in 1996

“So it would be, I think, premature to be making that the number one issue.

“But this Government is focused on the need to raise and resolve these issues at the right point in this progression and Prime Minister Sarraj is already notified that we will do so.”

Read more Docklands bomb victims remembered 20 years on at memorial service

Jonathan Ganesh, president of the DVA, said: “I’m pleased the Government appears to have indicated a willingness to help as it appears that they have finally put this on their agenda.

“I hope that it is not just a false promise of hope as previously UK governments have done. The victims and their families have campaigned for years with no assistance or help from the Government.”