Prince Mohammed El Senussi

BRUSSELS, WED 20 APRIL 2011

DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MAY I THANK YOU AT THE OUTSET FOR INVITING ME HERE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT MY COUNTRY, LIBYA.

IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO BE BEFORE YOU AND SPEAK A LITTLE ABOUT THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND WHAT I HOPE WILL BE THE FUTURE OF MY HOMELAND, LIBYA.

I WILL EXPLAIN IN MY OWN WORDS WHY THERE IS NO FUTURE POLITICAL SOLUTION IN LIBYA WHILE A MURDEROUS RULER REMAINS IN THE COUNTRY.

I SHALL SAY WHY I BELIEVE THE SO CALLED REBEL FORCES – OR FREEDOM FIGHTERS AS I SEE THEM – WILL BE VICTORIOUS.

AND I WILL BE BOLD AND SUGGEST A SOLUTION BY  WHICH THAT GLORIOUS DAY CAN BE BROUGHT FORWARD.

MY FULL NAME IS MOHAMMED EL-HASSAN EL-RIDA EL-MEHDI EL-SENUSSI.

BUT IN EUROPE I TRY AND KEEP IT SIMPLE; MOHAMMED EL SENUSSI.    

I HAVE LIVED IN EXILE SINCE 1988, AND WHILE I HOPE THAT MY OWN SITUATION WILL SOON CHANGE, IT IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE AND CONSIDER THE FUTURE OF THE SIX MILLION INHABITANTS OF LIBYA.       

MY FAMILY - THE SENUSSIS – ARE A WELL-KNOWN SUFI DYNASTY, A PEACEFUL AND MODERATE MOVEMENT THAT PLACES A STRONG FOCUS ON HUMAN, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

WE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN ANTI-COLONIAL RESISTANCE AND LED SUPPORT FOR THE ALLIED POWERS IN LIBYA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. 

MY GREAT UNCLE WAS KING IDRIS – THE FIRST KING OF LIBYA.  IN 1969, WHEN HE WAS OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY RECEIVING MEDICAL TREATMENT, COLONEL GADDAFI LED A MILITARY COUP AGAINST HIM.

THOSE OF THE SENUSSI FAMILY WHO REMAINED IN LIBYA – INCLUDING MYSELF – WERE SUBJECT TO BRUTALITY ORDERED PERSONALLY BY GADDAFI.

WE WERE DRAGGED FROM OUR HOUSE AND FORCED TO WATCH OUR HOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND.

FAMILY GRAVES WERE DESTROYED.  BODIES OF RELATIVES WERE EXHUMED AND DUMPED IN THE DESERT.

AND WE LIVED UNDER HOUSE ARREST UNTIL MY FATHER, THE CROWN PRINCE, WAS EVENTUALLY ALLOWED TO TRAVEL FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT IN 1988 TO LONDON AND HE TOOK THE REST OF HIS FAMILY. 

IN 1992, MY FATHER SADLY PASSED AWAY.  BEFORE DOING SO HE APPOINTED ME HEAD OF THE ROYAL HOUSE OF LIBYA. 

SINCE THEN I HAVE CAMPAIGNED FROM MY LONDON BASE AGAINST THE MURDEROUS REGIME OF GADDAFI, THROUGHOUT EUROPE AND IN NORTH AMERICA.

NOW, AFTER 42 YEARS OF DICTATORSHIP, WE ARE WITNESSING A DETERMINED DRIVE TO ENSURE THAT PEACE, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY RETURN TO LIBYA.  AND THANKS TO THE INTERVENTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY – MANY OF WHOM ARE REPRESENTED HERE TODAY - THAT DAY WILL DAWN SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. 

THE EFFORTS OF THOSE WESTERN AND ARAB COUNTRIES THAT HAVE STOOD SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE DECENT AND BRAVE MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF MY HOMELAND WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.  I CAN ASSURE YOU OF THAT.

THAT IS A MESSAGE I CONVEYED TO PRESIDENT  SARKOZY AND PRIME MINISTER CAMERON FOR THEIR DECISIVE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES WHICH APPEARED TO FAST TRACK THE UNITED NATIONS 1973 RESOLUTION  TO PROTECT INNOCENT, DECENT AND LAW ABIDING LIBYANS FROM RUTHLESS AERIAL BOMBARDMENTS AND GROUND ATTACKS.    

JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, NO ONE ENVISAGED A SITUATION WHERE GADDAFI WOULD NOT RULE LIBYA.  YET WE ARE NOW THINKING AND TALKING ABOUT A TRANSITION PROCESS TO A DEMOCRATIC LIBYA AND ONE IN WHICH MY PEOPLE CAN LIVE IN DIGNITY NOT DREAD AND IN FREEDOM AND NOT IN FEAR. 

THE PEACEFUL UPRISING IN LIBYA ON FEBRUARY 17 GAVE LIBYANS ALL OVER THE WORLD IMMENSE HOPE. THE SITUATION IN LIBYA IS SYMPTOMATIC OF THE WIDER REGION AND, IN MANY WAYS, THE GOAL IS STRAIGHTFORWARD.

THE PEOPLE SIMPLY WANT THE CHANCE TO DETERMINE THEIR OWN LIVES AND TO LIVE IN PEACE.

THERE ARE THOSE WHO WONDER WHETHER WE’VE REACHED A STALEMATE IN LIBYA AND WHETHER, IN FACT, WE WILL EVER SEE THE END OF GADDAFI, A MAN WHO HOLLOWED OUT THE STATE AND TURNED IT INTO A CORRUPT, RUTHLESS AND WELL OILED APPARATUS FOR HIS FAMILY AND HIS CRONIES TO MONOPOLISE POWER AND MAKE MONEY.   

MAKE NO MISTAKE.  THIS IS SIX MILLION LIBYANS VERSUS ONE MAN WHOSE STRATEGY, IF I CAN CALL IT THAT, IS TO KILL INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN AN INDISCRIMINATE AND BARBARIC MANNER IN ORDER TO SUBJUGATE, OPPRESS AND MAINTAIN HIS UNDEMOCRATIC RULE.

WITH A GAME PLAN LIKE THAT, GO HE MUST.  AND GO HE WILL.   

AND THAT’S NOT JUST MY WISH.  IT’S THE GOAL OF ALL LIBYANS THAT I SPEAK TO DAY IN, DAY OUT WHETHER THEY BE IN TRIPOLI, BENGHAZI, SABHA AMD THE OTHER LIBYAN CITIES.

I BELIEVE GADDAFI’S DEPARTURE COULD BE EXPEDITED IF MORE NATIONS STEPPED DOWN OFF THE FENCE AND COMMITTED THEMSELVES TO RIDDING US OF ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST EVIL TYRANTS.

THERE WILL NEVER BE A POLITICAL SOLUTION IN LIBYA TO THE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY THAT GADDAFI AND HIS THUGS ARE COMMITTING.

HE NEEDS TO BE SQUEEZED EVEN TIGHTER BY ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AND MILITARY ACTION.

PROVIDED WE STAY RIGHTLY WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF THE UN’S SANCTIONS, THE POWER AND ARMORY OF NATO AND OTHER NATIONS SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO MORE RAPIDLY PUT AN END TO THE SUFFERING AND ATROCITIES AND TO GIVE THE LIBYAN PEOPLE THE FREEDOM THEY CRAVE AND PRAY FOR.

BUT FOR THIS WE NEED MORE WESTERN NATIONS AND ARAB COUNTRIES TO JOIN THE CAUSE OF PROTECTING THOSE IN THEIR NEED OF HELP, SO THEY CAN BE FREE FROM THE HELLISH TERROR THEY HAVE TO ENDURE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.  

SO TO THOSE NATIONS TALKING OF STALEMATE AND SEEKING POLITICAL SETTLEMENTS I WILL SAY THIS.

HELP THE PEOPLE AND DO NOT FALL FOR THE GADDAFI RHETORIC.  YOUR EFFORTS WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

AND WHAT OF GADDAFI’S FUTILE ARGUMENTS?               

ONE PROPAGATED BY HIM IS THAT LIBYA WILL LURCH INTO SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CHAOS IF HE IS NOT IN POWER OR PART OF A FUTURE LIBYA.

LET’S EXPLORE FOR A MOMENT GADDAFI’S RECENT CLAIMS. 

HE HOPED THAT THE VORTEX IN THE EAST OF LIBYA IN AND AROUND BENGHAZI WILL RESULT IN A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER, WHILST THE WEST OF THE COUNTRY – IN SHORT, THE TRIPOLI REGION – WOULD RETAIN EFFECTIVE SERVICES AND CONTINUE AS A VIABLE STATE UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP.  

HE THOUGHT THIS WOULD SEE THE PROTESTORS CAPITULATE AND THE END OF THE UPRISING.  HE MISJUDGED ENORMOUSLY THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE AND THE HATRED TOWARDS HIM AND HIS FAMILY.

GADDAFI HAS ALSO SAID THAT THE COUNTRY WILL SPLIT INTO RIVAL TRIBAL FACTIONS.  

THAT’S NOT THE CASE.  THE TRIBAL SYSTEM HAS BEEN IN PLACE FOR CENTURIES BUT THEY ALL HAVE THE   SAME WISH FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM.  HISTORY HAS PROOF OF THIS AND I WILL TOUCH UPON IT LATER. 

AND GADDAFI WOULD HAVE PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT - STANDING IN THE WINGS IF HE WERE TO GO - ARE EXTREME ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS.  THIS IS A MYTH, PROPAGANDA GENERATED BY GADDAFI AND HIS ACOLYTES.  

THERE’S NOT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THIS.

AND I’M NOT SURPRISED.

THIS IS NOT IRAQ.  THIS IS NOT AFGHANISTAN.

THIS IS LIBYA, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THIS IS ONE MAN AGAINST EVERYONE ELSE.  

SO LET’S IGNORE THE BLIND VISION OF COLONEL GADDAFI AND LOOK ELSEWHERE FOR SOLUTIONS.

THE PEOPLE OF LIBYA WILL CONTINUE THEIR STRUGGLE AND WILL DO SO UNTIL HE, HIS FAMILY AND HIS REGIME HAVE FALLEN.

IS MY CONFIDENCE MISPLACED?  OF COURSE I HOPE THAT’S NOT THE CASE BUT A QUICK LOOK BACK AT LIBYA’S HISTORY PROVIDES SOME USEFUL CLUES.

PUT SIMPLY, WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.  OUR NATION SAW ITALY DEFEATED AT THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND BACK THEN THERE WAS THREE INDEPENDENT REGIONS IN THE EAST, WEST AND SOUTH OF LIBYA, A COMPLEX AND ENTRENCHED TRIBAL SYSTEM AND THE RAVAGES OF WAR.

I’M PROUD THAT MY SENUSSI FOREFATHERS WERE ABLE THEN TO EMERGE – AT THE REQUEST OF THE PEOPLE – AND ACT AS A UNIFYING FORCE WHICH WAS ABLE TO RESTORE TRUST THROUGHOUT THE NATION, ACHIEVE NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND PRODUCE A CONTEXT FOR STABILITY WHICH PREVAILED SUCCESSFULLY FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS.    

WHILST MY FAMILY HAS SUFFERED DIRECTLY AT THE HANDS OF THE GADDAFI REGIME IT IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THE PAIN, FEAR AND ANGUISH OF THOSE LIVING IN MISRATA AND OTHER LIBYAN CITIES TODAY IN THE FACE OF BOMBARDMENT AND INDISCRIMINATE SHOOTINGS.

IT IS BECAUSE OF THEIR COURAGE AND ENDURANCE AND THAT OF THE REST OF MY NATION THAT I FEEL DEEPLY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SECURING INDIVIDUAL HUMAN AND POLITICAL RIGHTS FOR THE LIBYAN PEOPLE.

I WILL CONTINUE IN MY DETERMINATION TO SEE  THAT GADDAFI’S REGIME COMES TO AN END AND THE PEOPLE HAVE A NEW DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT WHICH TRULY REPRESENTS THEM. 

THAT WON’T BE EASY. BUT IT IS NOT INSURMOUNTABLE.  FAR FROM IT.

THE SILENCING AND SUPPRESSION OF OPPOSITION MOVEMENTS AND POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE LAST FOUR DECADES MEANS THAT TODAY THERE IS A VACUUM OF LEADERSHIP AND POLITICAL EXPRESSION IN LIBYA. 

THE INTERIM TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL IS AT THE MOMENT THE ONLY COHESIVE OPPOSITION IN LIBYA AND IT HAS MADE A COMMITMENT TO UNITY.  

WHILE I SUPPORT ANY GROUP OR ORGANISATION WORKING IN THE PEOPLE’S INTEREST, THE INTERIM TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL IS JUST THAT -TRANSITIONAL.

THAT’S NOT IN ANY WAY A CRITICISM; IT’S AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW IT SEES ITSELF AND MORE IMPORTANTLY HOW THE WHOLE NATION VIEWS ITS ROLE.

IT IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION.  THAT IS DOWN TO THE PEOPLE.

WHEN GADDAFI FALLS I IMAGINE THE COUNCIL WILL RELOCATE TO TRIPOLI AND THE EXISTING BODY WILL MAKE WAY FOR A NEW COUNCIL MADE UP OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL OVER LIBYA SO THEY CAN HAVE A REFERENDUM TO CHOOSE THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT THEY DESIRE.  

AND LIBYA HAS A GOOD, CREDIBLE BASIS ON WHICH TO GO FORWARD.  

WE HAD A CONSTITUTION WRITTEN IN 1951 AND AMENDED IN 1963.

IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ACTIVE FOR 42 YEARS BUT – SUITABLY UPDATED - IT COULD FORM THE BASIS OF A NEW LIBYA.

THE CONSTITUTION WAS DRAWN UP BY THE LIBYAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, WITH HELP AND INPUT FROM THE UNITED NATIONS, AND PROVIDED FOR A DEMOCRATIC, PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, WITH A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY. 

AT THE TIME IT WAS ADOPTED, THE CONSTITUTION WAS FORWARD-THINKING, AND A MODEL OF ITS KIND.

IT INCLUDED A REPRESENTATIVE PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, WITH UNIVERSAL ADULT SUFFRAGE, EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW FOR ALL CITIZENS, POLITICAL RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL CITIZENS, ABSOLUTE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, FREEDOM OF

THE PRESS AND FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS PRACTICE.

THE 1951 CONSTITUTION ALSO GUARANTEED THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND OUTLAWED CORRUPTION.

CLEARLY THE PASSAGE OF TIME MEANS THAT SOME ELEMENTS WOULD HAVE TO BE AMENDED. 

BUT WHATEVER THE PEOPLE OF LIBYA CHOOSE IN THE FUTURE, THE 1951 CONSTITUTION ALREADY INCLUDES THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY.

HOWEVER, IT IS MY BELIEF THAT THERE IS NO MORE SOLID AND SENSIBLE BASIS THAN THIS 1951 CONSTITUTION AVAILABLE FOR POLITICAL TRANSITION IN LIBYA AND NEITHER IS ANY LIKELY TO BE AGREED IN THE NEAR-TERM. 

IT IS CLEAR THAT BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE STATE OUT OF THE CHAOS THAT GADDAFI LEAVES BEHIND WILL BE A CHALLENGE. 

I HAVE THE UTMOST CONFIDENCE IN THE PEOPLE OF LIBYA.  

BUT AT THIS CRITICAL MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF LIBYA, THE LIBYAN PEOPLE NEED YOUR HELP IF THEY ARE TO PREVAIL AGAINST GADDAFI’S BRUTAL DETERMINATION TO CLING TO POWER, WHATEVER THE SUFFERING HE INFLICTS ON THE LIBYAN PEOPLE. 

I KNOW THIS INVOLVES DIFFICULT DECISIONS BUT PLEASE DO NOT DENY TO MY COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS THAT YOU ALL ENJOY IN YOUR COUNTRIES.

AND WHEN GADDAFI IS GONE, THEY WILL NEED YOUR HELP AGAIN TO BUILD A NEW AND DEMOCRATIC FUTURE.

MY OWN DUTY IS CLEAR.

WHETHER THE PEOPLE WANT A DEMOCRACY IN THE FORM OF A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY OR A REPUBLIC, I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO ASSIST IN CREATING A DEMOCRATIC STATE FOR LIBYANS BASED ON A REPRESENTATIVE PARLIAMENT CHOSEN BY FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS.  

AS A LIBYAN AND A MEMBER OF THE SENUSSI FAMILY, IT IS MY TASK TO SERVE THE PEOPLE AND I WILL DO SO AS BEST AS I CAN.

 

THANK YOU.