Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat Q & A with Libyan PM Abdel Rahim Al-Kib | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Q) How much did you pay for Al-Sinusi’s extradition?

A) (Laughing) We have paid in amicability, cordiality, and fraternity.

Q) So are reports of a financial deal between your government and Mauritania not true?

A) No, there is a special relationship between the Libyan people and the Mauritanian people. The Mauritanian people have never neglected their amicability toward, respect for, and appreciation of the Libyan people, and hence what has happened has happened. In Mauritania they know that there are false accusations, and hence they cooperated with us.

Q) But the presence of finance Minister Hasan Zaqlam within the Libyan delegation, which returned from Nouakchott accompanying Al-Sinusi attracted attention?

A) Certainly you know that there are large investments in Mauritania, and also in Egypt and Tunisia, and that there are warm and close relations with Mauritania, and with the rest of the Arab countries.

Q) There were issues between France and the ICC and Libya [over extraditing Al-Sinusi]. How was that resolved?

A) There is a fact that ought to be mentioned, namely that from the first day we contacted the brethren in Mauritania, the reply has been precisely that he will not be handed over to anyone other than Libya. As much as this issue is complex, and has taken lengthy meetings and negotiations, at the same time it has been based to a great extent on respect for and appreciation of the suffering of the Libyan people along the past 42 years.

Q) Why have you exerted all this political and diplomatic effort to get Al-Sinusi?

A) It was not just for Al-Sinusi, but we also wanted the families of the martyrs to feel reassured, and we want the Libyans in general to feel reassured and safe. This is because these people, who are in the neighbouring countries, are practicing terrorist operations every day, which they finance and scheme. This has disturbed us. This is part of the security policy and strategy adopted by the government. While we thank our brethren in Mauritania and Tunisia for their clear cooperation in what they have done, we also wish the brethren in all the Arab and fraternal countries to deal with this dossier in the same way.

Q) Do you expect Al-Sinusi to reveal serious information about Gaddafi’s money abroad?

A) Al-Sinusi was the black box of the previous regime. This issue is up to him, as he undoubtedly is a Libyan citizen, he has his rights even under these circumstances, and he ought to understand that he has duties toward this country, and hence it is his duty to give the testimonies that help his country and compensate it a little for what happened in the past.

Q) Can you guarantee him a fair and impartial trial?

A) This, God willing, is 100 percent certain. However, he might cast doubt on this, because the issue of the trials according to the concepts of the previous regime in Libya was completely different, and it will need some time for the new Libya, its aims, its aspirations, its advantages, and the new things it witnesses to be recognized.

Q) For this trial, will a lawyer and a team from the ICC be allocated?

A) Yes, and it will be open to the media, because we do not have anything to hide.

Q) Are there fears that he might be killed before going to trial?

A) No, there is a maximum level of protection and very high level of security; therefore this will not happen.

Q) Does Egypt intend on handing over Gaddafi followers based there?

A) Of course the intentions are there, and the issue is clear. We have done our duty in this dossier with regard to providing the required memorandums. There is a considerable group against which red cards have been issued by the Interpol. We have great confidence in our brethren in Egypt, the Egypt of the revolution, originality, pan-Arabism, and cordiality toward the Libyan people. We hope that Egypt with its revolution that has had a great positive effect on stirring up the Libyan street and on Libya’s revolution and its success, we hope that the Egyptians at these difficult times will present our people with a gift that reflects the fraternal feelings between the Egyptian and Libyan peoples.

Q) How many are wanted, and who are the most prominent among them?

A) We will not dwell much onto these details, because they are not important, and it is not proper to talk about them in the media.

Q) During your latest visit to Cairo, did you receive a pledge from President Mursi or from the prime minister to hand over Gaddafi’s followers?

A) When we visited Egypt, we had the honor to meet His Excellency President Mursi and His Excellency the Prime Minister. Part of the discussions was about the Egyptian-Libyan relations, which are important and fundamental to us. We have opened and discussed this dossier, and there was response. If anyone committed a crime against Egypt, and he is in Libya, we will not hesitate at all in handing him over, and he will be punished.

Q) It is said that the extradition of Al-Sinusi has increased the popularity of your government, and that those who were once critical of you have turned into supporters?

A) As you are one of the journalists inside and outside Libya to whom I have talked most, you know that when I had the honor to come and perform this mission my aim was to work only during this transitional stage, and I had no aims after that. I have stated this, and it has been clear. It has not occurred to me to move into the upcoming stage. Therefore, with all due respect for and appreciation of the feelings of all those concerned in Libya, what basically interests me is to do what my conscience and patriotism dictate for this country and this people, who have suffered a great deal. As far as I am concerned, all that interest me is not the rise or fall of popularity, despite the fact that I respect and appreciate the feelings of my kith and kin and my brethren. What really interests and preoccupies me are the results. History will judge this issue.

Q) How do you prepare for the government handover?

A) Now, we have prepared reports by every ministry separately, and there is a statement, which we nearly have completed. It is a statement by the government about the performance of every ministry. These reports start from the first day of assuming power, the original situation of the ministry, and is concluded by specific recommendation and proposed projects; there are all the stages through which the ministry has gone and the details that concern the upcoming minister. Also the ministries have prepared resumes of their own summarizing their achievements, and these will be presented to the new government. The handover will take place in a professional and respectable way. We will be there to present any services to the brothers and sisters in the upcoming government.

Q) From your ministers, who would you nominate to the new government?

A) Let me tell you that most certainly I am very happy to have worked with this distinguished team. In the extremely critical period during which we have worked, and which to some extent still is critical, I have felt that all my colleagues, with whom I have worked during this period, are extremely qualified. Certainly there are ministries that have faced difficulties; however, I am very proud to have been part of this distinguished team.