Mauritania has not agreed to hand over spy chief

The Associated Press

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — A high-ranking government official is denying that Mauritania had agreed to hand over one of Moammar Gadhafi’s ex-intelligence chief for trial in Libya.

His comment comes only hours after Libya’s spokesman told reporters that Mauritania was planning to extradite Abdullah al-Senoussi back to Libya.

The official, who is close to the negotiations and who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussion, told The Associated Press by telephone that “Mauritania had given no assurances whatsoever to Libya regarding handing over al-Senoussi.”

He adds that Libya had gone ahead with the declaration in order to “force Mauritania’s hand.”

Gadhafi’s former intelligence chief is accused of attacking civilians during the uprising in Libya last year and of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner.