Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Qadhafi remaining in Libya is a possibility

Speaking alongside France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi must relinquish power but may not have to leave Libya. Hague noted that Britain would preferably see Qadhafi go but said it was up to the people of Libya to determine whether the Leader should leave.

The two dignitaries were discussing the on-going conflict, following claims that the French were growing impatient with the lack of military success. To counteractive the claims, Hague said that the neighbours were "absolutely united" in their approach to the crisis.

The latest announcement shows a considerable change in Britain's stance on the situation in Libya, which previously indicated that the UK was all for Qadhafi going. According to the BBC, Hague's comments come amid signs that Libyan opposition fears that it may be near-impossible to see Qadhafi and his family leave the country.

The deal, for the Leader to remain in the country, would rest on him agreeing to relinquish power and certain other conditions. A number of parallel mediation efforts to find a peace deal are underway, involving UN, African and other envoys.

Speaking about the situation, Hague said: “What happens to Qadhafi is ultimately a question for the Libyans…What is absolutely clear, as Alain (Juppe) has said, is that whatever happens, Qadhafi must leave power. He must never again be able to threaten the lives of Libyan civilians nor to destabilise Libya once he has left power…Obviously him leaving Libya itself would be the best way of showing the Libyan people that they no longer have to live in fear of Qadhafi.”

He added: “But as I have said all along, this is ultimately a question for Libyans to determine."

In a show of solidarity between the neighbouring countries, Juppe backed Hague's comments, saying the allies were in "perfect co-operation". He noted: "We think that we must continue to exert strong pressure on the Libyan regime with the same methods. If we did not intervene four months ago it would have been a massacre in Benghazi and I think we may be proud to have taken this courageous decision."

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, The Daily Telegraph

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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