France refuses to comment on reports of Gaddafi guarantees

The French Foreign Ministry on Tuesday declined to comment on a Russian media report that Paris was ready to provide security guarantees to Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and his family if he steps down.

Russian business daily Kommersant quoted an unnamed high-ranking source in the Russian government as saying that Gaddafi had agreed to step down in exchange for security guarantees and that some NATO member states, particularly France, were ready to provide them.

According to the report, France said it would unfreeze Gaddafi and his family members’ assets and help him avoid prosecution at The Hague in exchange for his departure from Libya’s political scene. The possibility of him remaining in Libya has also been discussed, the report said.

“I don’t know anything about it, we are not commenting on media reports,” Romain Nadal told journalists in Paris.

“Our position is that the [Libyan rebel] National Transitional Council should take a decision on Gaddafi’s fate,” he said, adding “it’s clear for everyone that Gaddafi should go.”

Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces since mid-February. An international military operation in Libya began on March 19, following a UN resolution authorizing countries “to take all necessary measures” to help protect Libyan civilians from attacks by Gaddafi forces, and was extended until late September.

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