France Gets Cold Feet On Libya, Reaches Out To Qaddafi

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Photo: ap

France has split with NATO’s official Libya policy, reports The Telegraph, and openly called for negotiations with Muammar Qaddafi.The French state has been passing messages to the Libyan leader, reports the British newspaper, and French defence minister Gerard Longuet has said it is time to “get around the table”.

This appears to be a clear split with NATO and the US, who have both explicitly stated that Qaddafi must leave office.

In an e-mailed statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero confirmed that France had contacted Qaddafi. “We are passing him messages in liaison with the National Transitional Council and our allies,” writes Valero, contradicting other claims from Qaddafi’s son that the French were bypassing Libyan rebel forces.

It appears the French are angry with how long the war is dragging on for, and may be frustrated by the Libyan rebels. The Telegraph quotes an unnamed Western diplomat who says that France is “sending a message” to the rebels.

In further developments this morning, Prime Minister Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi announced today that the Libyan government would be ready to negotiate without Qaddafi, adding “we are ready to negotiate without condition”.

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