Italy rejects Qaddafi, recognizes Libyan rebel government
Italy today became the third nation to recognize Libya's rebels as the legitimate government, dealing a blow to attempts by Muammar Qaddafi and his sons to negotiate a diplomatic settlement.
Rebels battling the Libyan government of Col. Muammar Qaddafi rejected on Monday a diplomatic initiative that would keep Libya’s ruling family in power, as Italy became the third nation to recognize the rebels as the legitimate voice of the Libyan people.Skip to next paragraph
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“Any solution for the future of Libya has a precondition: that Qaddafi’s regime leaves… That Qaddafi himself and the family leave the country,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Monday, after meeting with a rebel foreign envoy in Rome.
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Libyan officials in Tripoli had earlier expressed optimism that a negotiated solution could be found, as an envoy of Colonel Qaddafi traveled from Greece to Turkey to Malta. But Mr. Frattini dismissed the Qaddafi government's proposals as “not credible” because they did not discuss the removal of the “Brother Leader” Qaddafi after nearly 42 years in power.
News has also emerged in Tripoli in recent days – confirmed by sources close to the Qaddafi family, and described also in The New York Times – that Qaddafi’s sons Saif al-Islam and Saadi have been trying to engineer a deal in which they would take the reins of power in Libya, oversee a democratic transition and reforms, and push their father aside.
These sources have welcomed the recent defection of Moussa Koussa, the Qaddafi confidante and intelligence chief who fled to London last week, and other senior officials, who they viewed as long-standing obstacles to an inevitable reform process in Libya.