February 25, 2012 / 6:40 PM / 7 years ago

Libya urges neighbors to hand over Gaddafi supporters

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya urged its neighbors to hand over supporters of toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi who have fled the country, saying bilateral ties could be threatened if they did not cooperate.

Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil (front) meets with French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet in Tripoli, February 25, 2012. REUTERS/Anis Mili

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), named no specific countries but said Libya had spoken to Arab and African states about the matter.

“The NTC, the transitional government and the Libyan people reached out to our neighbors to respect each other and not intervene in our internal issues but we are sorry that they didn’t listen to us,” he told a news conference.

“They are hosting the enemies of the Libyan people, those who stole Libyan money and killed Libyans. We have evidence that these people committed crimes,” he added, without naming those whom Libya wanted handed over.

Libya this month urged Niger to extradite Gaddafi’s son Saadi, saying his call for Libyans to prepare for a “coming uprising” threatened bilateral ties.

Niger responded that it could not hand over Saadi, who fled south to the West African state in September as Libyan forces gain the upper hand over his father’s forces, because he would face execution in Libya.

But officials in Libya and Niger said Niger authorities had placed tighter restrictions on Saadi’s movements.

Gaddafi’s wife Safiya, daughter Aisha and sons Mohammed and Hannibal fled to Algeria in August.

Algiers has said it had granted them refuge on humanitarian grounds but ordered them to stay out of politics after Aisha angered the Libyan government last year by telling the media her father was still fighting to hold onto power.

Gaddafi’s prime minister Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi remains in a Tunisian jail pending a decision on his extradition to Libya. Other officials from the Gaddafi regime are believed to have fled Libya during last year’s conflict.

“We have sent memorandums to these countries, some of them Arab, some of them African, to hand over these people but these states have not taken legal steps to hand over them or stop them in their work against Libya,” Abdel Jalil said.

“The Libyan people won’t forgive any state which won’t hand them over. Our relationship with these states will depend on their cooperation in this matter.”

Asked whether Libya would cut relations with these countries if they failed to cooperate, Abdel Jalil said: “The NTC and the government have asked the Libyan foreign ministry to send envoys to these countries to find a solution regarding this matter.

“The Libyan people will then make the right decision.”

Additional reporting by Taha Zargoun

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