Gaddafi seeks UN probe into unrest

MUAMMAR Gaddafi says he wants the United Nations or the African Union to look into the unrest rocking Libya and has promised investigators free access.

The Libyan leader, making his first such demand since the outbreak of violent protests against his rule and the ensuing bloody riposte, also warned in an interview published on Sunday that the unrest would spell disaster for Europe.

“First of all I would like that an investigatory commission of the United Nations or the African Union comes here to Libya,” he told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

“We will let this panel work unhampered,” he said, adding that he would be in favour of France “coordinating and leading” the investigating body.  Shortly after the unrest broke out, Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, long seen as a possible successor, said he wanted an independent domestic investigation into the unrest.

On February 22, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also called for an independent international investigation and an immediate halt to serious abuses committed by Libyan authorities.

Gaddafi underscored that the violence posing the greatest challenge to his 41-year rule would have serious repercussions for Europe, which has been facing an uphill battle to stem clandestine immigration, especially from North Africa and Asia.

“Thousands of people from Libya will invade Europe,” he said, “and there will be no-one to stop them.”  Gaddafi repeated a regular charge that the revolt against his regime was being spearheaded by the al-Qaeda terror network.  “There is an Islamic jihad facing you from the Mediterranean,” he said. “(Osama) bin Laden will install himself in North Africa … you will have bin Laden at your gates.

“They will attack the US Sixth Fleet. There will be acts of piracy here at your gates, about 50 kilometres from your borders. Bin Laden’s men will demand ransom from land and sea. This will really become an international crisis.”  Gaddafi also said three Dutch soldiers captured during an unauthorised rescue mission were being held prisoner, and he underlined that this was “normal”.

The three were taken captive in Sirte in the north of Libya on Sunday during a botched attempt to evacuate two civilians, a Dutch engineer and one other European, by navy helicopter. In comments to British newspaper The Sunday Times, Gaddafi repeated that he had no intention of going into exile.  “Does anybody leave his own homeland? Why should I leave Libya?” he said, laughing.

Gaddafi also denied that his forces had bombed civilian areas and reacted fiercely when asked about efforts by British Prime Minister David Cameron and other Western powers to freeze his family assets.  “I challenge Cameron and everybody else if he can bring one dinar that belongs to me in any foreign bank,” he said.

“I have a tent. I don’t like money like him. I’ll put my two fingers in their eyes if I have any accounts, whether it is inside or outside Libya. “Today’s presidents who say I should go, I say to you that you will serve out your terms and then you will retire – but I will still be leader of the revolution.”

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