By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 14 September 2013:
The President of the General National Congress, Nouri Abu Sahmain, has met with Niger’s foreign minister, Mohammed Abuazum, . . .[restrict]who was in Tripoli on Thursday to discuss relations between the two neighbours. The meeting also involved the Deputy President of Congress, Saleh Makhzoum, and Libya’s foreign minister, Mohamed Abdulaziz.
Congress’ media office said that all parties had agreed to strengthen relations through the development and improvement of cooperation in “all fields that serve the common interest”.
However, the main discussion point, according to Benghazi-based news service Ajwa Leblad, was the handover of Saadi Qaddafi, who fled to Niger in September 2011. Libya has formally requested his extradition but so far without success. Besides Saadi, Libya also wants to extradite a number of other members of the former regime figures currently residing in Niger.
Foreign Minister Abdulaziz has previously stated that Niger is reconsidering the extradition requests and would do so based on Interpol red notices of former regime figures.
Last year, however, Abuazum was in Tripoli and signed an cooperation agreement on security, investment and transport with the then Foreign Minister, Ashour Ben Khayal, that also was seen as linked, in Libyan eyes, to the repatriation of Saadi. It was hailed at the time by Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al Kib as paving the way “for the restoration of real relationships and brotherhood between the two countries”.
Nothing came of it.
Last year, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou said his country had granted Saadi Gaddafi asylum based on humanitarian grounds and that Saadi had agreed to refrain from taking part of any political activity.
Issoufou has said his government would hand Saadi over to the International Criminal Court, should the body request it to do so. It is not interested in him and has not indicted him. [/restrict]