Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Secret meetings between NTC and Gaddafi loyalists– Sources | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Asharq Al-Awsat has learnt that Cairo has recently hosted a number of secret meetings between representatives of the Libyan National Transitional Council [NTC] and some senior figures and officials of the former Gaddafi regime with the objective of resuming efforts towards achieving national reconciliation. High ranking Egyptian and Libyan officials informed Asharq Al-Awsat that NTC envoy Sheikh Ali al-Salabi, one of the most senior Muslim Brotherhood figures in Libya, met with Ali al-Ahwal, who was Gaddafi’s coordinator for tribes, as well as former Tripoli official Abdullah Bazeen, and Gaddafi’s cousin Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam.

A Libyan official involved in the discussions informed Asharq Al-Awsat that al-Salabi met these three former regime figures – under the auspices of Egypt – at one of Cairo’s hotels on at least two separate occasions. This is the first time that Egyptian officials have participated in efforts to achieve national reconciliation in Libya, taking place prior to the Libyan parliamentary elections that are expected to be held before the end of next month. The Libyan official refused to disclose the substance of these talks, but did reveal that they had resulted in preliminary positive results, pending the resumption of dialogue over the next few weeks, with the objective of “saving Libya from division and fragmentation and ensuring the victory of the point of view calling for real national reconciliation that does not exclude any trend or tribe in the country.” However it was not clear on what basis the national reconciliation process in Libya would take place in light of the absence of any real comprehensive initiative in this regard. We must also note that some of the former regime figures that the NTC envoy met with in Cairo are wanted by the Libyan judiciary, and have been accused of stealing state funds and attempting to abort the popular revolution in Libyan.

According to information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, al-Salabi returned to Tripoli from Cairo yesterday following his secret meeting with symbols of the former regime, where he was acting as an envoy of the NTC. Al-Salabi had been engaged in similar talks with former Gaddafi officials late last year; however these talks stopped abruptly before the NTC could ask the Egyptian authorities to surrender all former Gaddafi regime officials present on Egyptian territory to Tripoli.

The NTC has yet to officially announce its desire to enter dialogue with symbols of the former regime, however NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil has announced – on more than one occasion – that those who have committed crimes against the Libyan people and their revolution should be brought to trial, pledging to bring such figures to justice, whilst stressing that they any former Gaddafi regime official would be granted a fair trial.

In addition to this, Abdul-Jalil has warned that Libya’s future relations with Mauritania is subject to the extradition of Abdullah al-Senussi, former Libyan intelligence chief, who illegally entered Mauritania in March last year. Abdul-Jalil stressed “the decision to be taken by our brothers in Mauritania regarding Abdullah al-Senussi will be the basis of future relations between Libya and Mauritania.” Tripoli is urgently seeking the extradition of Gaddafi’s brother-in-law from Mauritania with the objective of bringing him to trial for crimes committed against the Libyan people. Al-Senussi is also wanted by the International Criminal Court [ICC] for being an “indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity, of murder and persecution based on political grounds” in the Libyan city of Benghazi, where the anti-Gaddafi uprising began last year. Abdul-Jalil accused al-Senussi of being behind numerous crimes against the Libyan people, including the Abu Salim prison massacre in 1996 in which more than1,200 prisoners were killed, adding that “the evidence and testimony at our disposal shows that it was he who set this massacre in motion.” The NTC chairman called on the “Mauritanian government and its people to take into consideration the feelings of Libyans with respect to this defendant” stressing that Libyan – Mauritanian relations will be affected by this.