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The Times: Saif Gaddafi is the man to unify Libya

Moamar Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam has risen to prominence under efforts to reunite Libya and will probably run for president in the next elections, an independent French negotiator has told The Times.

The Time reported Jean-Yves Ollivier – the French negotiator at the centre of efforts for Libyan peace – as saying that Saif is a symbol to reconciliation.

“We don’t discuss politics but he passes me messages. He wants elections and he is convinced that if he goes to elections there will be two million Gaddafists behind him, so he will win.” The Times reported.

Saif Al-Islam is still wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities during the revolution, including crimes against humanity, murder and persecution.

He was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 but the sentence was not carried out as Libya descended into chaos. Efforts to rehabilitate Saif al-Islam — the “sword of Islam” in Arabic — and return the Gaddafi family to the political arena have included requests for the ICC to reconsider its outstanding arrest warrant against him and a legal challenge on the admissibility of the ICC indictment.

“The ICC will deliver a ruling by September 28.” The Times added.

“Behind-the-scenes efforts to bring all of Libya’s factions together at a single table have involved a complex process of concessions. Central to the reconciliation initiative lies the awareness that no lasting peace is possible without the reintegration of Gaddafi loyalists into the political arena. Libya’s 6.2 million citizens are believed to include up to 500,000 Gaddafists living in exile abroad, and about 1.5 million displaced from their homes inside Libya. “Add to these the ‘nostalgia Gaddafists’, who say that when Gaddafi was in power the country had security,” said Mr Ollivier, chairman of the Brazzaville Foundation, which is at the centre of reconciliation efforts. “You cannot ignore these people. The voice of all Libyans needs to be heard.” The Times reported.

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