By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 19 January:
Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan revealed last Wednesday in his press conference, held immediately upon his return from his . . .[restrict]official visit to Qatar, that he was in favour of more talks on resolving the Mali issue rather than rushing into action.
He denied reports in the media that Libya had supported French military action in Mali.
Zeidan did not go out of his way to condemn French Military action, but he was frank in admitting he had no input in the decision.
“It is not in our hands”, he admitted. “It is in the hands of the international community. We did not support the decision to use force”.
Zeidan then went on to frankly admit that he had “heard of it after it had started through the media”.
However, he went on to confirm that he was united with his Maghreb neighbours in taking actions to resist terrorist and criminal cross border activities with as much reduction of blood-letting as is possible.
Zeidan then went on to say that there were “no terrorist groups in Southern Libya”. Moreover, and in what seemed to contradict his statement that Libya knew nothing in advance of the French action in Mali, Zeidan said that Libya had “anticipated French action in Mali” and as a result had met with neighbouring countries in Ghadames to agree to take various actions.
When asked by journalists whether Libya would help France logistically if asked, Zeidan would not commit himself and replied “when I am asked I will reply to the question”.
Zeidan added that Libya will resist attempts to enter its territory illegally.
When asked who he thought was behind the various acts of terrorism in Libya, Zeidan would not specifically name any one.
However he said that “There are powers that don’t want stability involved in white slavery, drugs smuggling, arms smuggling, money laundering and others who want North Africa to be a theatre of instability”. [/restrict]