Monday, November 08, 2004

Libya: Sayef al-Islam says democratic elections coming

Gaddafi's son, Sayef al-Islam, on BBC World Service (radio) today
... [He] said that in the wake of regional government elections three months ago, nation-wide polls -- under the gaze of US and European observers -- would be "the next step" and that they would be held "soon".

[...] "In Libya, next time, everything should be democratic from A to Z. This is the desire of my father. This is the desire of the people."

Asked whether his father -- who rules Libya with no formal title -- would contest the presidency, he replied with a laugh: "I think he is going to be the leader, and not president."

[...] But he criticised European Union policy towards North Africa, saying Brussels was wrong to separate the nations along the south shore of the Mediterranean from the rest of Africa.

He also said that if Europe wanted to stem the tide of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa via Libya, it should do more "to create jobs and fight unemployment" in the region.

"It is not by sending us four wheel drive (vehicles), helicopters and night vision equipment" that the problem can be resolved, he said.

"We have to bring opportunity from Europe ... and then we can prevent (migrants) from crossing the Sahara and crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe," he said. (source)