December 23, 2010 / 7:18 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Son of Libya's Gaddafi denies family feud

* Saif al-Islam Gaddafi says no power struggle with brothers

* He has clashed with conservatives who oppose his reforms

* Position as chairman of charity made into honorary role

(Adds details)

By Salah Sarrar

TRIPOLI, Dec 23 (Reuters) - One of the sons of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has taken the unusual step of publicly denying he is caught in a feud with his brothers, after months of speculation about a power struggle within the family.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has clashed publicly with conservatives in the ruling elite over proposals to reform the country. Some analysts believe his conservative opponents have the backing of his two brothers, Mutassim, a national security adviser, and Khamis, a senior military leader.

“Several press reports have suggested that I’ve been involved in a power struggle with my brothers behind the scenes in Libya,” Saif al-Islam said in a document circulated on Thursday by the charitable foundation he chairs.

“There is nothing of the sort. I have an excellent relationship with my family,” he said in the document, a record of proceedings at his Gaddafi Foundation’s board meeting in London earlier this month.

In what may be a sign of a reduced public role for Saif al-Islam, the minutes said the charity’s board had decided to make his position of chairman into an honorary role.

The charity — until now one of his main levers of influence — announced earlier this month it was withdrawing from politics, a step that several analysts interpreted as a sign Saif al-Islam’s power had been curtailed.

Saif al-Islam’s long-running turf war with conservatives has escalated in the past few months.

Twenty journalists working for Al Ghad, a media group which has been linked to him, were briefly arrested. The head of the media group stepped down and its flagship newspaper stopped printing. [ID:nLDE6AF2GL]

In the minutes released on Thursday, Saif al-Islam denied that he owned the media group. He described himself as “merely a supporter, not an owner, of Al Ghad”.

He also denied owning a home in London, saying he stayed in hotels when visiting the city.

“I can only imagine that such unsubstantiated rumours are designed to imply profligate or wasteful spending habits,” he said. (Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Peter Graff)

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