Gaddafi praises Qatar for mediating end to medics’ row


Gaddafi phoned Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa late Tuesday and “thanked him for the role he played in the efforts made by France to secure an agreement with the Gaddafi Foundation … and the European Commission”, Jana said.


The agency did not elaborate but said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa expressed his “happiness” and said the role he played “reflected the profound links between Qatar and Libya”.


France and the European Commission had also paid homage to the Emir’s mediation, which led to the release on Tuesday of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor after eight years of detention in Libya.


Qatar’s Ambassador to France Mohamed al-Kawari, who was also the Emir’s envoy to Tripoli, said the Gulf state “had been in contact for a while with the Libyan and the European sides — mainly France.


“The Qatari role has focused mainly on adopting the humanitarian side,” of the problem, he added in remarks in the Qatari daily Arrayah, without disclosing more details.


A source close to the negotiations in Tripoli said French President Nicolas Sarkozy had asked the Emir to intervene with Gaddafi to help secure a deal for the release of the medics.


The six had been given death sentences, commuted to life imprisonment, for allegedly infecting 438 children with HIV-tainted blood in a Libyan hospital, despite testimony by some Aids researchers that poor hygiene was to blame. Fifty-six of the children have since died.


The deal to release them was secured after the European Union struck a deal to improve ties with Tripoli.


The Gaddafi Foundation, run by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, said about $ 1mn per child had been paid although Sarkozy said Europe did not pay “the slightest financial compensation” for the medics’ release.


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