Libya’s foreign minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi made some conciliatory offers at a meeting in London, according to the Guardian.He said Libya could hold free and fair elections, supervised by the UN, within six months. It was undecided “whether the Leader should stay and in what role, and whether he should retire.” A requirement for this to happen would be the halting of airstrikes, al-Obeidi said.
While conciliatory, the offer represents a clever gambit.
Free and fair elections would result in a close race between Qaddafi and whoever else steps up, if not a blowout. Unlike in Egypt, there isn’t a Mohammed El-Baradei or Naguib Sawiris or any developed opposition party ready to fill the gap.
NATO could require Qaddafi not to run, but that would be undemocratic.
Al-Obeidi twisted the knife on this controversial point: “The US, Britain and France – sometimes those countries contradict themselves. They talk about democracy but when it comes to Libya, they say he [Gaddafi] should leave. It should be up to the Libyan people. This should not be dictated from any other head of state. It is against the principle of democracy.”
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