France Ready to Conceed in its Quest to Destroy Libya?

Paris is carrying out talks with Muammar Gaddafi. The son of the Libyan leader Saif al-Islam said in his interview for the Algerian newspaper El Khabar that the authorities of his country are negotiating with the French government and not with the regime’s opponents. Paris indirectly confirms its contacts with Gaddafi. The French Defence Minister says that it is time for the participants in the Libyan conflict to start talks.

In his interview Saif al-Islam quotes the words of the French President to the Libyan envoy. To put it in a nutshell, the Interim National Council (the rebels’ government) was established by the West. The rebels could not survive without the support, money and weapons they get from outside. They will be forced to cease fire after France comes to an agreement with Tripoli.

Similar declarations from Paris sounded several hours before the interview for El Khabar came out. French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet declared that NATO would stop its bombings as soon as the Libyans started a dialogue between each other and their soldiers returned to the barracks.

Information about talks between the Libyan government and the rebels came in the past as well: representatives of both parties mentioned talks either in Italy, or in Egypt, or in Norway. It is not as if the Libyan authorities took an implacable position – even Muammar Gaddafi declared that he was ready for reforms. This means that the stumbling block is the future of the leader of Jamahiriya, pointed out Yuri Rubinsky, the head of the Centre of French Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences in his interview for The Voice of Russia:

“French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe made a hint that demands for Gaddafi’s dismissal remain. At the same time, the French also said that Gaddafi should stay “next door”: near power but not in power. Thus, Gaddafi has a chance of staying in case of a slow political settlement.”

France and the USA have never agreed on Libya from the very beginning. France was the main initiator of the sanctions and later the military campaign in Libya. At that time the USA mostly kept silent, not wishing to be involved in a new Iraq or Afghanistan. The USA unwillingly headed the allied operation and shifted the command to NATO at the first opportunity. Now that France is ready for peace the White House policy has suddenly become tough. And France, as is known, is ready to promise the colonel certain guarantees: unfreezing some of his and his family’s bank accounts and helping him to avoid the Hague tribunal if he steps down peacefully. The Libyan leader may even be allowed to remain in his native country.

Recall that at the G8 summit in Deauville in May the leaders came to an agreement that there is no room for Gaddafi in the new Libya. At the same time Moscow has repeatedly confirmed its opinion that the Libyan people should determine the future of their country, the authorities and the opposition should start talks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said recently that it is naive to hope that if Gaddafi leaves everyone will surrender to the opposition. There is no alternative to talks.

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