Gaddafi may stay in Libya, UK says

2011-07-26 08:58
London - British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday demanded that Muammar Gaddafi step down but said the Libyan leader may be allowed to remain in the North African country.

Speaking ahead of talks in London with French counterpart Alain Juppe, Hague said Britain would prefer for Gaddafi to quit Libya and stressed that France and Britain were "absolutely united" in Nato's current mission against Gaddafi.

"What is absolutely clear, as Alain [Juppe] has said, is that whatever happens, Gaddafi must leave power," said Hague.

"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 Gaddafi.

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

Juppe said the allies were in "perfect co-operation" over the UN-sanctioned mission, which began in March, despite suggestions in France that the mission was dragging on too long.

"We think that we must continue to exert strong pressure on the Libyan regime with the same methods," he said.

"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," concluded Juppe, referring to a rebel stronghold.

Libya on Monday accused Nato of killing at least seven people in an air raid on a medical clinic in Zliten east of Tripoli, as top US officer Admiral Michael Mullen spoke of "stalemate" in Nato's campaign.

Read more on:    un  |  nato  |  muammar gaddafi  |  william hague  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings

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