Brussels, March 8 (DPA) Officials loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi want the UN to send international observers to the country to verify accusations of human rights abuse hurled at the regime, an EU diplomat said Tuesday.
“This was the first point they raised with us,” the diplomat said, after a team of experts led by Agostino Miozzo, the point man on crisis coordination for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, returned Monday from a two-day trip to Tripoli.
“The request was mainly to the UN, and if possible with the EU joining in,” the source explained, indicating that Miozzo had talks with Hamed Jarrod, an official in the Libyan foreign ministry in charge of European Affairs.
Representatives of the EU member states which have embassies open in Tripoli – Italy, Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus – “also agreed on the need for an independent evaluation of the situation,” the diplomat said.
However, Ashton spokesman Michael Mann said no decision had yet been taken on whether to take up the suggestion.
EU foreign ministers are to discuss the situation in Libya Thursday, ahead of an EU summit scheduled for Friday.
He also maintained that having EU officials meeting with a representative of Gaddafi did not contradict the bloc’s call for the embattled leader to step down, and did not mean that the EU questioned that the regime was guilty of abuses.
“There are no doubts about the fact that human rights violations have been committed, what (the EU diplomat) said … was that we have to identify not only that it was the regime, but the actual individuals responsible,” Mann explained.
Gaddafi has been accused of instigating a violent crackdown since an uprising started on February 15, with reports indicating that thousands have been killed, including by aerial bombings of civilians.
The Libyan leader has strongly denied the charges.
Last month, the UN Security Council authorised the International Criminal Court – which is responsible for prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity – to investigate recent events in the country.