TRIPOLI, Jan 12, 2012 (AFP)
TRIPOLI, Jan 12, 2012 (AFP)
Libya is probing the mysterious disappearance of revered Lebanese Shiite imam Mussa Sadr who went missing in Tripoli 33 years ago, Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansur told reporters on Thursday.
“The investigation is on… there is a commission of inquiry chaired by the Libyan attorney general” which is probing the case, Mansur said after meeting Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC).
“We agreed to have follow-ups between Lebanese and Libyans, and there will be a judge representing the Lebanese side, Hassan al-Shami, to follow the issue and arrive at a positive outcome.”
Mansur said that Libyan officials had given assurances about “speeding up the work” in the case.
Mansur, heading a Lebanese delegation, arrived on Wednesday in Tripoli to discuss the case of Sadr in the first visit to Libya by a Lebanese diplomat in more than 30 years.
Sadr, a charismatic and revered Shiite spiritual leader, had been officially invited to Libya in 1978 during the rule of Moamer Kadhafi along with an aide and a journalist.
But the three men have not been heard of since and Tripoli had always maintained that the cleric had left Libya for Italy.
Since the mysterious disappearance of Sadr, ties between Libya and Lebanon have been strained.
“The shadow of this case has hung over bilateral relations between Lebanon and Libya for more than 33 years,” said Mansur.
“We want to turn this black page and establish fraternal and constructive bilateral relations and that is why it is of great importance that we reveal the truth” about the case, he added.
On Wednesday, NTC member Fathi Baja said the NTC was ready to form a joint commission with the Lebanese to investigate what happened to Sadr, but that so far Abdel Jalil and other Libyan officials had no information about the circumstances of his disappearance.
But he said some clues of the case could possibly be found in files obtained by the new rulers which belonged to the intelligence, foreign affairs and police authorities of the ousted Kadhafi regime.
Baja also dismissed recent reports that Sadr had died of natural causes in a prison cell in 1998.
A Kadhafi aide, Ahmed Ramadan, had previously said on television that Sadr was “liquidated” after he met the former strongman in Tripoli in 1978.
Sadr’s trip to Libya was aimed at negotiating an end to Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
The Iranian-born cleric arrived in Tripoli on August 25, 1978, with two companions Sheikh Mohammed Yacoub and journalist Abbas Badreddin. They were seen for the last time on August 31, 1978.
His disappearance had been a source of tension between Lebanon and the Kadhafi regime, which was ousted late last year following an eight-month armed uprising.