September 16, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 4143

Libyan Ambassador to the UN Abdel Rahman Shalgam: I Am Prepared to Face Trial for My Service under Al-Qadhafi; We Won't Let the Africans Bring Us Their Diseases and Crime

September 16, 2011
Libya | Special Dispatch No. 4143

Following are excerpts from an interview with Libyan Ambassador to the UN Abdel Rahman Shalgam, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on August 31, 2011:

Abdel Rahman Shalgam: "We said that any Libyan who does not have blood on his hands and who did not steal is entitled to anything that Libyans are entitled to. But even those Libyans who did kill or steal will face a fair trial. Nobody is above the law. [Libyan NTC Chairman] Mustafa Abdul Jalil said he would be the first to stand trial, and I also said that I had served under Al-Qadhafi, and anybody has the right to say that since I served as foreign minister, information minister, and ambassador..."

Interviewer: "You are prepared to be held accountable?"

Abdel Rahman Shalgam: "Of course. In a law-abiding state, nobody – not even the president or the king – is above the law. That is what we want." [...]

Interviewer: "What did Al-Qadhafi say to you the last time you met him?"

Abdel Rahman Shalgam: "The Libyans know. I talked with him for two hours and 20 minutes, and told him that the explosion was imminent. This was prior to the Tunisian revolution. I told him that the country was like a rotten, maggot-infested corpse. He said to me: 'Yeah, yeah. Right.' Then he sent Mohammed Al-Zwai to me, and I met him and Al-Baghdadi in the General People's Congress, and they said: 'You are right,' but nothing happened. [...]

Interviewer: "As we know, everybody – the Islamists, the liberals, Libyans from east and west – shared a common goal during the revolution and the fighting: the toppling of the regime. What is their common denominator now?"

Abdel Rahman Shalgam: "The common denominators are: Libya, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and a peaceful transfer of power – to whoever takes over. The Libyans have the right to elect whoever they want – whether an Islamist, one of the fighters, or a nationalist, chauvinistic Libyan – on condition that they do not resort to arms. All weapons should be in the hands of the police or the army. We must not have a Libyan Hizbullah. [...]

"Libya is an Arab, African, Islamic, and Mediterranean country. We will cooperate with the Africans, but we won't open the gates of Libya, like Al-Qadhafi did, so they can bring us their diseases and crime. No. there will be law and order." [...]

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