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Cablegate: Qadhafi Development Foundation Resumes Dialogue On Release

VZCZCXRO7962
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #0993 3661425
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311425Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4283
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0977
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0664
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1364
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 0721
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0859
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0802
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4806

C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000993

SIPDIS

LONDON FOR TSOU, PARIS FOR WALLER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2018
TAGS: PTER PGOV KISL PINR PHUM LY
SUBJECT: QADHAFI DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION RESUMES DIALOGUE ON RELEASE
OF LIFG FIGHTERS

REF: A) TRIPOLI 577, B) TRIPOLI 182, C) TRIPOLI 320 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, U.S. Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Saleh Abdulsalam Saleh, Human Rights Committee Director of the quasi-governmental Qadhafi Development Foundation (QDF), told P/E Chief on December 27 that the latest round of talks between the QDF and imprisoned members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) had begun on/about December 21. The talks are part of what QDF officials describe as "an ongoing dialogue" that had been underway for about 18 months under the personal patronage of QDF Chairman Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Muammar al-Qadhafi. As reported reftel, QDF officials say the dialogue has so far resulted in the release of 131 former LIFG fighters, the most recent tranche in June, who have returned to their homes and participate in a QDF-subsidized program of reintegration and social rehabilitation. QDF officials say about 100 former LIFG fighters remain in the GOL's custody. (Note: The dialogue concerns LIFG members arrested in the mid to late-1990's, before the September 2007 merger between al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Maghreb (AQIM) and the LIFG. End note.)

2. (C) Saleh said it had been expected that the current round of talks would take place in August, and that there would be another tranche of LIFG fighters released sometime in September/October. The talks were delayed, however, when questions arose about the sincerity of some LIFG fighters' renunciation of political violence. Consequently, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi had personally participated in the opening round of talks earlier this month to underscore the importance of released LIFG members abstaining from violence and extremism. As reported refs B and C, the program is designed to demonstrate the ability of former extremists to rehabilitate themselves; however, the GOL and QDF are keenly mindful of the potential for recidivism and place a heavy premium on vetting candidates for release to ensure that they do not intend to resume extremist activities.

3. (C) According to Saleh, the current round of talks is expected to lead to the release in February 2009 of "most" of the approximately 100 former LIFG fighters remaining in the GOL's custody. He said there were "a few" hardened LIFG former fighters who would not likely be released, and confirmed that Abdullah al-Sadiq, Abu Munther al-Saadi and Abu Hazim al-Sharif are representing the LIFG leadership in the current round of talks.
CRETZ

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