Libya says Jordan to Handover Jailed Islamist to Get Kidnapped Ambassador
April 29, 2014 2:03 PM EST
Libya says Jordan to handover jailed Islamist to get kidnapped ambassador
Jordan's ambassador to Libya, Fawaz al-Itan, was snatched by gunmen who demanded the release of Mohamed Dersi, a Libyan Islamist militant jailed for life in 2007 for plotting to blow up the main airport in Jordan.
Sohar Banun, an undersecretary in Libya's justice ministry, said both countries had agreed that the ambassador would be released in exchange for Jordan reducing Dersi's sentence and allowing him to complete his jail term in Libya, LANA said.
"The Jordanian authorities expressed their total readiness to solve this crisis, confirming that the ambassador will be released in exchange for reducing the term of the Libyan prisoner and sending him home to complete his sentence," he said according to the agency.
"The crisis will be solved according to a memorandum of understanding between the two countries," said Banun, who heads a department taking care of Libyans jailed abroad.
He gave no details or time frame, and there was no immediate comment from Jordanian or Libyan officials.
Analysts have said agreeing to the kidnappers' demand could set a dangerous precedent for Jordan, which is an important U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda.
Kidnappings have become commonplace in Libya, with foreign diplomats often the targets.
Banun hinted at movement in efforts to get the Tunisians released.
"Regarding the file of Libyans jailed in Tunisia ... Tunisia confirms its wish to cooperate with the Libyan government, especially with the kidnapping of the Tunisian diplomats," he said according to LANA.
He did not elaborate.
The weak interim government has been unable to disarm former rebels and Islamist militants who fought in the uprising that deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and who have formed increasingly powerful and violent militias.
Two weeks ago the interim prime minister resigned afterjust a month into the job, saying gunmen had tried to attackhis family.
Tribal groups, militias and even local citizens are alsoresorting to road blockades as a negotiating tactic. Some rebelgroups have also shut down the OPEC member's oil facilities,raising supply concerns on global oil markets.