Libya PM Says U.S. Raid will not Hurt Ties
Tripoli – Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Tuesday that relations with the United States would not be affected by a U.S. military raid that captured an al Qaeda suspect in Tripoli, but he said Libyan suspects should be tried in their own country.His comments reflected a desire to keep on board a key foreign ally in the fight to control worsening violence at the same time as appeasing Islamist militants who have taken over swathes of Libya and use it as a safe haven.
Militant groups angered by Saturday’s raid have taken to social networking sites to call for revenge attacks on strategic targets including gas export pipelines, planes and ships, as well as for the kidnappings of Americans in the capital.In the operation, U.S. special forces seized Nazih al-Ragye, known by his alias Abu Anas al-Liby – a Libyan who is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.
“Our relationship with the USA is important, and we care about that, but we care too about our citizens, which is our duty,” Zeidan told reporters after a meeting with the Moroccan government in Rabat.”They helped us with our revolution. Our relationship will not be affected by this event, which we will settle in the way that we need to.”
The United States was a key ally of rebels who overthrew long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi two years ago.But since then much of Libya has descended into lawlessness as militants, some of them affiliated to the al Qaeda network, use it to smuggle weapons and as a base for fighters.
Zeidan said Libyan citizens should be judged in Libya and Tripoli was in contact with U.S. authorities to “take all necessary measures in this affair.” Libya summoned the U.S. ambassador on Monday to discuss the issue.U.S. officials say Liby is being held aboard a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea. (Reuters)