London: Col Gaddafi must relinquish power but may not have to leave Libya, Foreign Secretary William Hague has suggested. He said Britain’s preference was for the Libyan leader to leave the country, but it was a “question for Libyans”.Mr Hague was speaking in London alongside French foreign minister Alain Juppe about the ongoing conflict.
He said the countries were “absolutely united” in their approach following claims the French had grown impatient with the lack of military success
The stance marks a shift in Mr Hague’s approach. He has previously indicated that he wanted Col Gaddafi to leave Libya.
Media reports said the remarks come amidst signs the leadership of the Libyan opposition is no longer ruling out the idea that Col Gaddafi and his family could remain on Libyan soil.
This would happen as long as he gave up power and agreed to certain conditions, as part of a political deal to end the war.
Mr Hague said: “What happens to Gaddafi is ultimately a question for the Libyans.”
He went on: “What is absolutely clear, as Alain (Juppe) has said, is that whatever happens, Gaddafi must leave power. He must never again be able to threaten the lives of Libyan civilians nor to destabilise Libya once he has left power.
“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.”