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Mohammed As-Sanussi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Gaddafi’s Family Should Return to Libya

Mohammed As-Sanussi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Gaddafi’s Family Should Return to Libya

Wednesday, 22 April, 2020 - 08:30
Prince Mohammed al-Hassan al-Ridha as-Senussi. Asharq Al-Awsat

Prince Mohammed al-Hassan al-Ridha as-Senussi has expressed optimism on Libya’s politics, despite all its complexities. He emphasized the need for all parties to demonstrate a “spirit of tolerance” to overcome obstacles.


Mohammad al-Hassan is the son of al-Hassan al-Ridha as-Senussi, who was appointed by King Idris as-Sanussi as crown prince on November 25, 1956, and died on April 28, 1992.


In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he said the people, not the political parties, “should initiate a solution” to the country’s crisis. Therefore, they “should decide the system of governance that satisfies them.”


“I left Libya because of my father’s illness, may God have mercy on him, but I lived there for more than two decades after the coup of 1969, and witnessed important events... I also follow closely all developments in my country,” he recounted.


Asked about the main cause of the Libyan crisis, Mohammad al-Hassan noted that the lack of a “sound constitutional basis, which governs the relationship between competing political parties and determines the responsibility of legislative and executive bodies, and the absence of the Libyan citizens in this equation, is one of the main problems.”


He stressed that calls to restore the Libyan monarchy were not aimed at “reinstating the lost rule,” but rather “arise from the people’s will to reestablish constitutional legitimacy.”


Pointing to Libya’s history, Prince Mohammed al-Hassan said that the Libyan people “achieved the dream of establishing a state after they managed - in the middle of the last century – to gain their independence, which we remain proud of.”


He added: “The monarchy was one of those milestones that contributed to achieving this dream… Therefore, the Libyan people are those who decide about the system of governance that would be the framework of the state of institutions and law.”


Commenting on reports about the complex picture of the Libyan crisis, which is exacerbated by regional and tribal problems, and the presence of militias, the son of the late crown prince pointed to misconceptions about Libya.


“The Libyan society is formed of tribes, but not in the tribal sense meant by those who call it as such. It is one of the most developed Arab societies, and its tribes, families, and individuals have had the most prominent role in achieving the independence,” he underlined.


The prince reiterated that the Libyan people, not the political parties, should decide on the system of rule in their country.


Asked about Russia’s contacts with Seif al-Islam Gaddafi and calls for his participation in Libya’s political life, he replied: “Under the constitution and the law, the Libyan people are equal in rights and duties. They should not be exposed to injustice because of their personal or political opinions.”


He noted that following the 1969 coup, his own family suffered from many injustices and defamation.


“Therefore, I call for securing the immediate return of all Libyan citizens, who were forced to leave their homeland,” he said, adding that embassies and consulates should contribute to providing the needs of “those who find themselves outside their country, for political reasons.”


He continued: “We also call for guaranteeing the return of all the displaced inside and outside Libya, including the family of late Muammar Gaddafi, because they are Libyan citizens as well, and they have the same rights and duties under the law.”


As for his vision of an exit to the Libyan crisis, Prince Mohammed al-Hassan said the solution lied in “tolerating each other, overcoming pain, wounds and hatred, and demonstrating a spirit of brotherhood and love before any talk of political arrangements.”


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