'Algeria must hand over pro-Gaddafi suspects'
Algeria must hand over to the new Libya authorities anyone close to ousted ruler Muammar Gaddafi whose involvement in crimes is proven, Libyan former foreign minister and defector Abdel Rahman Chalgham said Friday.
“Personally, I understand Algeria's decision” to take in some members of Gaddafi's family, which has been criticised by Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), Chalgam told the daily Echorouk.
“But if any of those people are staying in Algeria when they have committed crimes or are guilty of embezzlement, Algeria should turn them over” to the NTC, Chalgam said.
“That's the best way to end the fuss surrounding this affair,” he added.
Algeria on Tuesday gave refuge to three of Gaddafi's children - Aisha, who gave birth to a baby girl that same day, Mohammed and Hannibal - as well as Safiya, the second wife of the toppled leader.
The NTC, which is the political arm of the Libyan rebels, on Tuesday said that Algeria's action was “very imprudent” and against the interests of the Libyan people. The Algiers government declared that it had taken in Gaddafi's family members for “strictly humanitarian reasons”.
“Relations between Algeria and the new Libya will be excellent,” Chelgam told the Arabic-language daily. “The Libyans believed that the Algerian army would be at their side - but the official position of Algeria was not up to expectations - although President Abdelaziz Bouteflika enormously respects the Libyan people.”
Algeria on Thursday adopted a less ambiguous stance by announcing at an international conference in Paris that it was ready to recognise Libya's transitional authorities and completely ruled out allowing Gaddafi to cross the border.
According to the Algerian daily El-Watan's online edition on Wednesday, Gaddafi has tried to negotiate with Algerian authorities to enter the country from a Libyan border town where he is holed up after the NTC seized Tripoli.
Algeria's Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci on Thursday told Europe 1 radio that Libya's NTC had vowed to set-up a “government representative of all regions” and added: “When it has done so, we'll recognise it.”
A former foreign minister, Chalgam defected in March while he was Libya's representative to the United Nations. - Sapa-AFP