Libya to compensate exiled Jews

April 7, 2004 at 1:48 PM

TRIPOLI, Libya, April 7 (UPI) -- Libya has offered compensation to Jews who fled the country, assuring them Libya "is their country and their original homeland," Ha'aretz reported Wednesday.

The remarks were made by Col. Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi in an interview with the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi.

He said Libya wants to distance itself from the ongoing Middle East crisis, but said repatriating exiled Jews would free up homes for use by Palestinians.

"From the start we did not want to get into the stew of the Middle East," Gadhafi said. "We have, therefore, decided to completely distance ourselves from the Middle East and to turn to Africa."

Gadhafi also called on Arab states to support U.S. President George Bush's campaign to promote democracy in the Middle East.

"Instead of shouting and criticizing the American initiative, you have to bring democracy to your countries, and then there will be no need to fear America or your people," he said.

"The Arabs should either change or change will be imposed on them from outside."

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