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Cablegate: Qadhafi Development Foundation On Negotiations for Release

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OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0182 0640759
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O P 040759Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3175
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3657

C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000182

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INR (SWEET), S/CT, AND NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: DECL: 3/3/2028
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PINR LY
SUBJECT: QADHAFI DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION ON NEGOTIATIONS FOR RELEASE
OF LIFG MEMBERS CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Media reports and a statement posted on the quasi-governmental Qadhafi Development Foundation (QDF) website February 24 said Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, who heads the organization, had personally conducted negotiations with members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) about the possible release from prison of approximately one-third of the cohort of LIFG members currently imprisoned in Libya. In a meeting with P/E Chief March 3 on other issues, QDF Executive Director Dr. Yusuf Sawani confirmed the report, noting that negotiations had been ongoing for more than a year. He attributed the impetus for the negotiations to a desire by the GOL to effect "genuine reconciliation" with those imprisoned members of the LIFG whom it judged to have undergone a "sincere ideological revision". Saying that "no one" wanted to see fellow Libyans incarcerated indefinitely, he claimed that reconciliation among former enemies was a "natural part" of Libya's tribal culture.

2.(C) Sawani put the total number of prisoners known to have LIFG affiliations at 93 and confirmed media reports that about one-third of those could be released if an agreement is reached. Saying further rounds of negotiation, with the personal involvement of Saif al-Islam, were expected to begin "soon", he stressed that the QDF and the GOL are keen "not to force unwelcome conditions" on the individuals being considered for release. Emphasizing that the individuals being considered had been judged to have "sincerely" renounced violence as a political adjunct, he said terms of monitoring and rehabilitation were key features of the negotiations. The shared goal of the QDF and GOL is to gain voluntary agreement by the prisoners to the terms of their release. It is expected that prisoners would return to their homes and resume their lives after release, Sawani said. There would be a program for monitoring their activities and the QDF would play "an active role" in promoting their reintegration into society; however, it is not envisioned that they would be under house arrest. 3.(C) Noting that the QDF realized the planned release will generate controversy in some quarters, including among foreign powers concerned about possible counter-terrorism implications, Sawani said the QDF understood it had to have "the highest degree of confidence" in the genuine ideological rehabilitation of those being considered for release. He stressed that candidates had been closely vetted over a considerable period of time before their names were added to the list used in Saif al-Islam's negotiations. He added that it had been agreed that those released would endorse a public statement renouncing political violence and disassociating themselves from the LIFG and al-Qaeda. (Note: The merger of the LIFG with al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Maghreb (AQIM) was announced in November 2007. End note.)
STEVENS 0 03/04/2008

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