EXCERPTS FROM REV. JESSE JACKSON'S INTERVIEW
WITH COL. MU`AMMAR AL-QADHAFI
TRIPOLI, LIBYA 26 JUNE 1993
JJ: Col. Qadhafi, thanks for joining us tonight for this very special interview. Assuming that President Clinton and his key advisors are watching this program, what message would you like to send to President Clinton and to America tonight?
MQ: First of all, I think, to restore relations and normalize relations, and to exchange economic interests between the two countries; and the return of the American oil companies to Libya and the trade and investing in Libya and Libyan money in America. I think it is better than the sanctions and the escalation, the threats, the enmity. My advice to my Democratic friends in America this day is to look at the positive things instead of the negative things, and we open a new chapter.
JJ: Are you willing to assist in releasing the two Libyan suspects that are such a big factor in the sanctions now being imposed on Libya?
MQ: No, I can't force them to go there, because it is against their human rights and against the law.
JJ: Would you encourage them voluntarily to go and face a trial in U.S. courts and British courts?
MQ: They are afraid because they are ordinary citizens. They are afraid of America, of England -- these countries are against their country; they bombed their country, they killed the children and innocent people in 1986. How can they go to these two countries where there are facts such as these? Really, in the view of the ordinary people, the Americans, the Britains, particularly America in the times of the administration of the Republicans, they feel it is terrorist, it is a bad place, because they saw how they did here in this country, innocent people killed here by aircraft, American aircraft coming from England. How can they go to these two countries to be tried there?
JJ: Col. Qadhafi, assuming that they are afraid of U.S. and British courts, where else would you assist in releasing them and encourage them to go?
MQ: It is necessary for Libya to prove that Libya is an innocent country, and not a terrorist country and Libya is against terrorism absolutely. For us it is very important they be tried as soon as possible. But they are afraid to go, for instance, to America or to Britain; and we can't force them really and we must look for another place, for another country to try them -- a place where they can go and not [be] afraid.
JJ: Would you release them, and to whom, and under what conditions?
MQ: You are a respected person on the level of the world. All peoples know you and respect you and the Libyan people admires you, and we trust you. Our friends in America, of course, trust you. All the world trusts you -- I think from my side I find no one is more suitable to take these people than you. We must all of us -- not Libyans, our friends, our American friends also and the British -- if they agree, I think these two people can hand themselves to you, because they trust you. But they are afraid if they find themselves later on in America or Britain.
JJ: So your point is that you would be willing to release them, indeed, release them to me --
MQ: To you, OK. Not to America or to the British, to you.
JJ: So to any place other than the U.S. or Britain, you would encourage their release.
MQ: No objection. We must do this and solve this problem and normalize our relations and go forward with the future.
JJ: Your people took us on a tour of your home which was bombed in 1986 -- an air raid in which more than 200 people were killed. Indeed your own two-year-old daughter died in that bombing attack. And there is a great sense of pain throughout Libya about what happened at 2 o'clock AM on that morning in 1986. Was PanAm 103 your revenge?
MQ: I don't think so, but we have to get these two accused people to the court to know the truth. It is important for us to know the truth.
JJ: Do you believe, given all the accusations, that Libyans were involved in this act?
MQ: I don't think so because it is far from Libya. It is a plane that came from the Far East, through Frankfurt, and crashed on Lockerbie. What is the relation of this accident to Libya? The flight was not from Libya, no Libyan luggage, no Libyan passenger, what is the relation of Libya with this tragic accident? We heard about it in the media, like any other viewer.
JJ: So you are saying: to you it was not an act of revenge, not that of any of the Libyan officials.
MQ: Of course, of course! I told you, we heard about this accident through the media like any other one heard about it, and we were very sorry that night when we heard about this disaster.
JJ: There are real concerns, of course, about the plane that you have addressed in this interview so far. The issue about Libya's strategic role in the world -- are you willing to lead some new, bold initiatives to change how people view Libya in the world?
MQ: I think if these two people release themselves to you, for example, and a trial takes place for them [in order] to know the truth about this disaster, and we finish all this hostile climate and atmosphere between the West and East, between Libya and America particularly, and we exchange visits and we meet together --
JJ: Exchange visits?
MQ: Yes, between Libya and America, between Clinton and me -- to meet together in America, or in Libya, or in any other place -- it will be a big change.
JJ: So you feel that by encouraging the release of these two suspects and having that trial, that represents a bold step in a new direction, and you would be assertive in leading that --
MQ: Yes, of course. And, for me, I am ready to go to America --
JJ: It sounds like Qadhafi going on the offense.
MQ: OK -- to solve this problem and to change the world for the better!
JJ: There's a peace process under way now that includes Egypt and Israel and Syria and Jordan and the like -- do you support that process?
MQ: If it is the way of peace, we support it. But if it is a waste of time, that is another matter. I don't think it is the best way to achieve peace in the Middle East. To achieve peace in the Middle East, we must solve the problem of Palestine radically and historically and finally -- to let the Palestinian people come back to Palestine, and to create a new, democratic state in Palestine for Israelis and Palestinians, like what is going on in South Africa: free elections under the supervision of the United Nations, all blacks and whites together. Palestinians and Israelis together, voting in a free election under the supervision of the UN and to create a democratic country: it is the historical and ethical solution.
JJ: Back to Libya and your own determination to come out of isolation. One of the accusations levelled at Libya is that you still have terrorist camps inside the country, training people from other countries to engage in warfare. Are there any such camps in Libya today?
MQ: First of all, these camps are not terrorist camps. And they finished now, although they are not terrorist camps. These camps were the camps of SWAPO and SWAPO now is an independent country --
JJ: Namibia --
MQ: Sam Nujoma -- is he a terrorist? No! Then what do they mean his camps in Libya were terrorist camps? The camps of President Museveni of Uganda, they finished because he won the war, and he now is the president. Is he a terrorist? No! The camps of Zimbabwe, of Mugabe, the forces of Mugabe were here --
JJ: There are no more such camps?
MQ: Of course not! There are no camps now.
JJ: Would you allow the UN to inspect them to satisfy themselves that --
MQ: Yes, yes! We have many times invited the UN to send an international committee from [the] UN to inspect and to see these camps. It is very important for us, and we challenge them: we challenge them to come here and to see these camps.
JJ: What about the question of Libya making chemical weapons?
MQ: We want the United Nations to form an international committee to inspect all the area, including Libya.
JJ: So if the UN formed a committee and came to Libya --
MQ: Not only Libya. All the area. To see where these weapons are and to destroy [them].
JJ: So you are saying, if they were to come to Libya and find such a manufacturing apparatus for chemical warfare, they could destroy it?
MQ: Yes, if they come to the area, to inspect all the area: Israelis, Libyans, Egypt, any other countries in the area.
JJ: [What do you think of] U.S. President Bill Clinton?
MQ: I described him as a bright star coming from the darkness of the middle of the Western Hemisphere. He is good, really, a good man, very acute -- a good man, and no complexes.
JJ: What do you think of Libya's maximum leader, Mu`ammar Qadhafi?
MQ: [Begins to answer in Arabic]
JJ: Talk to me in English now ...
MQ: [laughing] In English? Describe myself in English?
MQ: Qadhafi is a man who -- The ordinary citizens like him, and he wants to live for them. But the centers of power in the world are against him. His picture has two sides, his image, -- a good one and a distorted one.
JJ: So there's a clear picture of Qadhafi, and there's a distorted picture. Thank you tonight for sharing your thoughts.
CLOSING THOUGHTS from Rev. Jackson: Final thoughts from Tripoli. Col. Qadhafi clearly wants the sanctions off. He wants to get PanAm103 behind him. He says 'Take these two Libyans to a court anywhere in the world except Britain or the U.S.' Will the Clinton Administration buy into this? We really do not know. Here in Tripoli, they hope he says 'Yes'.
(This is an unofficial transcript. Any errors it may contain are my personal responsibility, and I apologize for them. -- I.S.)
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