Libyan rebel chief says Qaddafi could stay after all
British Foreign Secretary William Hague backed up Mustafa Abdul Jalil's comment yesterday that rebels would be willing to sign an agreement allowing Qaddafi to remain in Libya.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The announcement came after rebel leader Mustapha Abdul Jalil said that Libya's rebels would be willing to sign an agreement that allows Mr. Qaddafi to remain in the country under conditions they set. Mr. Hague's announcement is essentially a signal to the rebels that Britain will accept that outcome if that is what they choose.
"He must never again be able to threaten the lives of Libyan civilians nor to destabilise Libya once he has left power," Hague said, according to the Guardian. "Obviously, leaving Libya itself would be the best way of showing the Libyan people 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."
Hague also said that Qaddafi may not end up being arraigned in the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé was with Hague at the time of the announcement. He said Qaddafi should have to stand trial to show that no one is "immune from prosecution," although he reiterated that if the Libyan people allow Qaddafi to remain in the country, then France too will go along with it, the Guardian reports.
Britain may be ambivalent about the ICC trial because if Qaddafi is persuaded to leave the country, it will likely be a country that does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC and therefore will not turn him over.
The Financial Times reports that the British government is under pressure to lay out a clear strategy in Libya, where the conflict is seemingly in a stalemate. Military officials say if operations go on much longer, the military – already stretched thin – will be "severely challenged."