On Libya, As Shalgam Accuses Qatar of Interference, Martin to Gulf, Rice to Tripoli

UNITED NATIONS, November 28 — Libyan diplomat Mohammed Abdel Rahman Shalgam recently accused Qatar of aiding Islamists within Libya. On Monday, Inner City Press asked both UN envoy Ian Martin and US Ambassador Susan Rice about Shalgam’s complaints.

Martin finessed the question by mentioning, but not summarizing, his visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates: “I recently visited Qatar and the Emirates and discussed how assist… coordinated by the UN.” Video here, from Minute 3:55.

Inner City Press asked Martin if the assistant alleged by Shalgam would be contrary to law. Again Martin sidestepped the question, saying that “they made clear” the want to “support in ways agreed with NTC and now with the government.” Shalgam IS the government, so clearly this has not always been the case.

(c) UN Photo

Shalgam in past, Qatar “interference” not yet shown

Soon afterward Inner City Press put the question to US Ambassador Susan Rice, after she described her recent visit to Tripoli:

Inner City Press: On Libya, the diplomat Shalgam has said, he’s complained, that he’s said that Qatar has, even since the end of the conflict, been funding parties in Libya, the Islamists, he said. He made this complaint publicly. I think Ian Martin has gone to Qatar and the UAE to speak to both of them. What does, either in your visit, or overall as the U.S., do you think that there are still countries other than Libya sort-of interfering in the process in Libya? What do you make of what Mr. Shalgham said?

Ambassador Rice: Well I’ve heard those concerns expressed, and I think the most important point is that all friends and supporters of the new Libya need to come together in support of the authority of the new Libyan government. And to channel all of our support and assistance, consistent with their needs and desires.

There are many different challenges that the new Libyan government is facing. How to deal with the militias; security; informing and incorporating all elements of Libyan society into an inclusive government structure; proceeding with an election process in which all feel they have a stake. And so, I think, clearly the message I received from Libyan interlocutors was gratitude for U.S. and international
support but a strong assertion of their sovereign need and desire to chart their own future and the request and expectation that their partners all support their agenda.

These are diplomat answers. But as a senior UN official put it to Inner City Press on Monday, there is resentment growing about how Qatar “such a small country” can be buying so much influence. Watch this site.By Matthew Russell Lee

Ali El-Ehmer

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