Former Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam will have a part to play in the country’s peace process, Russian officials have said yesterday.
Russia is in regular contact with Saif Al-Islam, the head of the Russian Contact Group for intra-Libyan settlement Lev Dengov said.
“Saif Islam Gaddafi is regularly in contact with us at the moment as a participant of the Libyan settlement process,” Dengov told Russia’s Sputnik on the sidelines of the Palermo Conference on Libya.
On Monday, the Italian government launched a two-day high-profile international summit on the future of Libya in the country’s coastal city of Palermo in an attempt to reach a peace deal and end the country’s internal divisions. The conference was attended by representatives from Arab and Western countries, including France and the United States.
“Saif Islam is thinking positively and it is possible to say that he will be a political process participant today [Palermo summit],” Dengov added.
“There is a certain group of people who have been supporting everything that is linked to Gaddafi and his family,” the Russian official stressed. However, he noted, Russia could not neglect the fact that there are several sanctions imposed against Gaddafi’s son.
“Until these sanctions are lifted, we [Russia] do not think his participation will be legitimate as the national elections will be held under the auspices of the United Nations,” Dengov pointed out.
Following his father’s overthrow and death in October 2011, Islam was captured and sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes by the self-declared government in Tripoli in 2015. However, the case has been harshly criticised by the United Nations human rights office. In 2017, he was released from prison in Zintan.