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Exclusive: Saif al-Gaddafi ‘wants money back from Sarkozy’

16/03/11 14:42 CET

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With the situation in Libya still tense and, above all, highly fluid, Colonel Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi gave euronews his personal views on the causes of the conflict. He said forces loyal to his father would have ended the rebellion in 48 hours and also repeated his allegation that France’s President Sarkozy owed his election to Libyan funding.
 
Riad Muasses, euronews:  
“Saif al-Islam, before these events you presented yourself as the new reformist face of Libya. What has become of your reformist projects in the face of the protests against you?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“As you have seen over the past two weeks, what we have seen in the streets is not protesters but armed militias who kill people and frighten them and hang them. You have seen them in Albayda executing police officers, hanging people from the bridges, and in Misrata they burned a man in the public square. These people don’t believe in dialogue or human rights or democracy. They are criminals and luckily they take photos and videos of what they do and publish them - so today the Libyan people have revolted and are defending their land and their country. Every day the Libyan army liberates a town and the people come out into the streets, happy to celebrate these victories. The entire Libyan people are united against these militias and terrorists, even in the army there are many volunteers who have joined up to fight. We want to make political reforms when we re-establish peace and calm in our country. We were ready to make reforms and draw up a new constitution with more freedoms before – but now is the time to fight these terrorists and liberate Libya.”
 
Riad Muasses: 
“But are you convinced that Libya needs major reforms?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“Yes, we agree with that, but now if you speak to the man in the street about what he wants he’ll say peace. Right now they aren’t interested in construction or infrastructure projects, because Libyans have been terrorised at the hands of these militias so all our people want is the return of peace and security. That’s the priority. Reforms will come once the situation is stable in one or two weeks. Or a month. Because that will be the time for the birth of a new Libya with new laws and a new constitution. Now we’re seeing the birth of a modernised Libya.”
 
Riad Muasses: 
“How can we confirm the presence of al-Qaeda or other militia groups?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“To be clear, al-Qaeda was only present in the towns of Zawiya, Darna and Albayda. But we also saw the emergence of armed groups of murderers and criminals who were organised into armed militias, and who even recruited young people. You have seen them on the television drinking alcohol and listening to loud music, and taking drugs. So there are the two: criminal militias and extremist Islamic organisations, and both are enemies of the Libyan people.”
  
Riad Muasses: 
“So there is no-one demonstrating against you? There are only militias and Islamic extremists?”
  
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“The biggest thing is what has happened in Benghazi. In the next few days we are going to show the truth and the films. Firstly, there are certain businessmen who asked Arab workers in Libya to go out into the public squares. Most of the people who demonstrated were Egyptians and unemployed Palestinians. Secondly, there may be people who are against Gaddafi in Benghazi. Perhaps there are several thousand against Gaddafi but there are one and a half million inhabitants in Benghazi.
“There are thousands of people in Libya who don’t believe in God, and not only people who don’t believe in Muammar Gaddafi. Our ex Minister of Foreign Affairs is one of these non-believers, and he doesn’t hide his atheism. It wouldn’t be logical to tell you that 100% of the Libyan people are with Muammar Gaddafi.”
 
Riad Muasses: 
“So there’s no contamination from the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“It’s not a question of contamination, it’s a sort of trend. It’s very similar to what happened during the youth revolution in Europe during the 1960s. Also, we mustn’t forget that there are Arab TV stations who are conducting a media war against us, full of lies and rumours. These things are now clear to our people. For example, one of these TV stations said that the Libyan army was attacking the port of Mezda, but Mezda is a town in the middle of the desert. The TV stations of our Arab brothers have sunk to a very low, humiliating level and the Libyan people make fun of them. Today these enemy Arab TV stations say that Tripoli has fallen into the hands of what they call “Free Libya“ and that there is fighting in the streets of Tripoli.”
 
Riad Muasses: 
“Some information suggests that your armed forces are near to Benghazi and even that they are at the Egyptian border. What are you going to do with the people who protested against you?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“Most of them have escaped, our fighters have asked us to let them go, to let the traitors who have collaborated with the United States and Great Britain and France leave. Those who have asked for the American fleet or the return of British troops, or the intervention of NATO, they’re all running away to Egypt. We have no intention of killing them or taking revenge on these traitors who have betrayed our people. We say to them that they can run into Egypt quite safely because Libya no longer belongs to them. A lot of them have already left for Egypt.”
 
Riad Muasses:  
“A resolution to enforce a no fly zone over Libya could be passed by the UN. How would you react to such a resolution?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“A resolution of what against who? It’s too late. In 48 hours we will have finished our military operation. We are at the gates of Benghazi.”
 
Riad Muasses: 
“To the Arab League the Libyan regime is illegitimate. Do you intend to stay in the League or not?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“It’s ridiculous, these regimes are not democratic and do not hold elections. Their presidents are not elected and do not abide by constitutions or laws. All these regimes are illegitimate. Our real problem is with Amr Moussa (the Secretary-General of the Arab League). This man receives money from Qatar, and is preparing for a presidential campaign run in Egypt, and our Qatari brothers have asked him to play this role. We know very well what’s being prepared against us. Amr Moussa is not legitimate and neither are the Arab presidents, and furthermore, these Arab regimes which were established by dictatorship, or inheritance behave like they are the European Union or the United States. We know very well that this is just theatre at the Arab League. Our priority now isn’t deciding whether or not to stay in the Arab League. There will be time to take that decision. The priority now is to liberate our country and to finish our fight against the armed militias.”
 
Riad Muasses: 
“What is your position on France and President Sarkozy? France was the first country to recognise the Provisional Council.”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“Firstly Sarkozy must repay Libya the money he took for his election campaign. We financed his election campaign and we have all the details and we are ready to publish them. The first thing we ask of this clown Sarkozy is that he repay this money to the Libyan people. We helped him become president so that he would help the Libyan people but he has disappointed us. And very soon we will publish all the details and the documents and banking pay slips.“  
 
Riad Muasses: 
“One last question: is there a plan for power in Libya to be passed from father to son?”
 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: 
“I am not going to answer that question because I have taken a decision a long time ago. I’ve already spoken about it and don’t want to say any more.”
 

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