By Al Russell.
Tripoli, 18 August:
A number of Qaddafi loyalists are soon to be returned to Libya from exile in Egypt, the . . .[restrict]Egyptian ambassador, Hisham Abdul-Wahab, has announced.
He said that all that remains before the men can be returned is to finalise the legal technicalities. The handover is to be conducted according to the provisions of the Judicial Cooperation Convention signed by the two countries.
Several thousand Qaddafi loyalists fled to Egypt in the aftermath of last year’s revolution, including the late-dictator’s cousin, Ahmed Qaddaf El-Dum.
It is not known whether El-Dum, who was controversially approached by the Islamist cleric Ali Salabi as part of an abortive reconciliation effort in May, is amongst those due to be returned to Libya.
Efforts to reach agreement on the return of Qaddafi loyalists from Egypt have been ongoing since March, when Egypt’s foreign minister, Mohammed Amr, convened a ministerial meeting to discuss the situation.
The ambassador also said that he was liaising with Libyan authorities regarding Egyptian nationals being held by militias in Tripoli. He stressed that securing their release was a priority for Egypt, and that he personally hoped that it could be achieved very soon.
Around 5,000 people are thought to be being held illegally by militias across Libya, according to a report from Human Rights Watch last month. [/restrict]