Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Niger’s foreign minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said that his country is willing to reconsider Saadi Gaddafi’s legal status as a political refugee, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned. The statement comes following renewed calls from Tripoli for Niger to surrender the son of former Libyan leader, who has been accused of crimes relating to his involvement in the 2011 Libyan civil war.
A source speaking on the condition of anonymity informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “Nouri Abusahmain, the head of the General National Congress, asked Bazoum, whom he met in Tripoli on Thursday, to hand over Gaddafi’s son to the Libyan authorities.”
Abusahmain’s request is “based on intelligence about [Saadi] being involved in several suspicious activities against [Libya],” the source said, adding that Bazoum had reassured the Libyans that Niger was not allowing Gaddafi to get involved in any political or media activities from its territory.
The General National Congress (GNC) issued a statement saying that the meeting between Abusahmain and Bazoum “discussed strengthening cooperative bilateral relations and the prospects of developing it in all fields to serve the common interest.”
The meeting was attended by Libyan deputy president Saleh Makhzoum and foreign minister Mohamed Abdulaziz.
Saadi Gaddafi, 38, fled to Niger in September 2011, weeks before his father was overthrown.
Since it granted him asylum, Niger has turned down several Libyan requests to hand over Saadi, whom Tripoli accuses of acquiring property by force.
An Interpol red notice has been issued against him.
The president of Niger, Mahamadou Issouffou, said last year that his country had granted Saadi asylum on humanitarian grounds.
In other news, the Justice and Construction Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Libya, called on the GNC to re-evaluate the security situation in Benghazi following an attack on a foreign ministry building earlier this week. The Justice and Construction Party called on Tripoli to find a comprehensive solution to the security crisis that is currently gripping the party.
In a move likely to further escalate the political division in Libya, head of the Justice and Construction Party, Mohamed Sowan, stepped up criticism of the interim government of Ali Zeidan which he blamed for the deteriorating domestic security situation.
However, Sowan acknowledged that his party would face difficult in withdrawing confidence from Zeidan’s government.
“Withdrawal of confidence requires 120 votes, and we have not reached this number yet,” Sowan said.