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France: Gaddafi sending signals he will quit power
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France: Gaddafi sending signals he will quit power

Libyan emmissaries reportedly say leader is ready to exit

  • Muammar Gaddafi
    openDemocracy/FlickrMuammar Gaddafi

France on Tuesday said it had received word from emissaries of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he is ready to leave power after months of Western air strikes and a popular uprising against his regime.

In the latest contacts between Western powers and the Libyan ruler, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French radio that envoys from Gaddafi had delivered a message that he was "prepared to leave."

"The Libyan regime is sending messengers everywhere, to Turkey, to New York, to Paris" offering to discuss Colonel Gaddafi's exit, he said according to the BBC.

"We are receiving emissaries who are telling us: 'Gaddafi is prepared to leave. Let's discuss it.'

"There are contacts but it's not a negotiation proper at this stage."

Juppe did not identify the envoys and insisted the conflict would not end until the Libyan leader stood down and relinquished control of the north African country.

"There is a consensus on how to end the crisis, which is that Gaddafi has to leave power," he said, reiterating NATO's position.

France was a driving force behind the NATO-led air campaign in Libya, launched in March under a UN mandate to protect civilians but interpreted in a way that has seen repeated strikes on Gaddafi's military forces.

Rag-tag rebel forces have been fighting a see-sawing battle against loyalist troops but they have been unable to dislodge the veteran leader from his stronghold in the capital Tripoli.

Juppe said the end of Gaddafi's regime was only a matter of time.

"The question is no longer about whether Gaddafi goes but when and how," he said, according to Reuters.

It is not the first time Gaddafi has sent messages appearing to offer a solution to the conflict.

His most powerful son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, told an Algerian newspaper Monday that his father's regime was in talks with the French government, although Paris denies that any direct negotiations are under way.

"The truth is that we are negotiating with France and not with the rebels," the El Khabar newspaper quoted Saif as saying in an interview in Tripoli.

Saif said in June that his father would be willing to hold elections in three months and would stand down if he lost.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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france, libya, muammar gaddafi, nato

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