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Fate of Saadi Kadhafi central to Libya-Niger talks

A Libyan protester holds her national flag next to a demonstrator holding a sign calling to cut ties with Niger (© 2009 AFP)

Niger officials on Saturday held talks in Tripoli on security issues including Saadi Kadhafi and other members of the former regime who are sheltered in Niger and wanted by Libyan authorities.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib said that his country takes “no chances” when it comes to the threat posed by remnants of the former regime sheltered in Niger.

“The existence of some remnants of the past regime (in Niger) is a serious issue,” he said at the sidelines of talks in Tripoli with his counterpart Brigi Rafini and Niger Foreign Minister Mohamed Bazoum.

Libyan Foreign Minister Ashur bin Khayyal told AFP that the fate of Saadi Kadhafi, one of the sons of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, “is one of the files under discussion” along with regional security issues and commercial ties between the two countries.

Saadi Kadhafi was granted refuge last September in Niger on humanitarian grounds. Niger has refused to extradite him despite Libya’s persistent requests.

In February, he said in televised remarks that a nationwide rebellion is brewing against Libya’s new rulers and vowed to return to his homeland.

Libya’s interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who met with the visiting delegation after its arrival on Friday, urged Niger to hand over Kadhafi’s associates.

“The Nigerian government should hand over former regime officials wanted by the Libyan government immediately after the start of a trial of former regime agents in Libya,” Lana news agency quoted Abdel Jalil as saying.

Libya also wants its judges to try Seif al-Islam, another of Kadhafi’s son, who is detained by a local militia in the town of Zintan and wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The Saturday talks also touched on security along the Libya-Niger desert border — a major gateway for arms and illegal immigrants, the regional consequences of the March coup in Mali, and Libyan investments in Niger.

Signature : TRIPOLI (AFP)

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