Last updated: 25 February, 2012

Libya says relations with neighbours depends on judicial cooperation

Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil on Saturday threatened to review diplomatic relations with neighbouring states sheltering former regime figures and “wanted criminals.”

“We stress that our relationship with neighbouring countries will be based on what position they take when it comes to turning over criminals and wanted people,” Abdel Jalil said at a news conference in Tripoli.

“Our future relations will be based on the level of cooperation from these countries on this issue,” said the head of the ruling National Transitional Council.

Libyan authorities had arrested people planning to carry out terrorist attacks with the support of remnants of Moamer Kadhafi regime living in neighbouring countries, he added, without providing further details.

Abdel Jalil accused neighbouring countries of sheltering the enemies of the Libyan people and ignoring calls from the public prosecutor to extradite them, despite the existence of incriminating proof.

“Unfortunately, these countries didn’t take any judicial action,” he said, adding they had also failed to prevent supporters of the toppled Kadhafi regime from stirring unrest and committing new crimes against the Libyan people.

Earlier this month Libya urged Niger to extradite Kadhafi’s son, Saadi, after he vowed to return to his homeland to spur a rebellion against the new authorities.

Niger declined on the grounds that it had no guarantee Saadi would receive a dignified trial in Libya and not be killed.

Former rebels captured Kadhafi along with his son, Mutassim, in his hometown of Sirte in October. Both were killed in murky circumstances raising doubts over the new authorities capacity to deliver justice and prevent revenge.

“We are capable of delivering a fair trial,” for people wanted by the authorities, Abdel Jalil said.

But he warned “the Libyan people will not forgive any country that delays the act of handing over these criminals.”

Pressed by journalists, Abdel Jalil also dismissed rumours of foreign intervention in the southeastern city of Kufra which was at the heart of deadly tribal clashes that mobilised the army and humanitarian agencies.

“This is internal strife between tribes,” he said.