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Gaddafi’s son could be ready for deal to end conflict

By Kim Sengupta

Representatives of one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons are said to have stressed his support for sweeping reforms and democratic elections during contacts with Libya's rebel leadership to try to strike a deal to end the conflict.

Diplomatic sources say that supporters acting through middlemen for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi have been stressing his past links with the most senior members of the provisional administration in Benghazi to show his commitment ahead of a possible deal.

It was disclosed last week that Saif was proposing an agreement which would limit the role of his father and include opposition figures in a caretaker government.

Elections would be held in the near future and a “reconciliation process” put in place in an attempt to heal the bitter wounds between the regime and its opponents.

Those trying to present the case for Saif point to his previous working relationship with Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, the head of the rebels' national council, and Ali Issawi, its foreign affairs representative.

Mr Jalil, as a senior judge, had repeatedly ruled against the regime during trials. While this led to rising criticism among some members of Col Gaddafi's coterie, Saif persuaded his father to appoint Mr Jalil as justice minister.

Mr Issawi, meanwhile, was twice persuaded to stay on after attempting to resign as the minister for economy, trade and investment. He was subsequently drafted into a “shadow” working committee set up by Saif which, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable, was charged with hammering out specifics of a government reform programme.

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