Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is ready to step down in exchange for a security guarantee, Kommersant, Russia’s leading daily, reports today.
“The colonel is sending signals that he’s ready to leave power in exchange for a security guarantee,” a high-placed source in the Russian government told Kommersant. “And such guarantees are ready to be offered to him.”
“In order to put an end to the drawn out conflict, the French are ready to not only unfreeze the colonel’s family’s accounts but also save him from the Hague tribunal,” Kommersant writes from Sochi, where President Dmitry Medvedev this weekend held talks with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and also with South African President Jacob Zuma, who is leading the African Union's efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement in Libya.
“[France] is not only ready to unfreeze part of Gaddafi’s accounts and those of his family, but also to promise to act so that the colonel, in the event of his peaceful exit, avoids the Hague tribunal,” the paper writes. “Furthermore, the question of allowing the Libyan leader to remain in his homeland is being discussed.”
The rebels’ National Transitional Council Monday stepped back from statements that it could allow Gaddafi to remain in Libya. “There is absolutely no current or future possibility for Qaddafi to remain in Libya,” council head Mustafa Abdul Jalil said in an e-mailed statement, Bloomberg reported. “There is no escape clause for Qaddafi - he must be removed from power and face justice.”
Another hiccup: Kommersant reports that Gaddafi insists his son Saif be allowed to stand in any elections that would follow his departure. Unlikely, to say the least.