Libyan govt not pleased by West’s recognition of Benghazi opposition

MOSCOW, July 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The Libyan authorities are “not very pleased” by Western countries’ decision to recognise the opposition Transitional National Council in Benghazi as a legitimate government, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi said.

“We are not very pleased by such decisions of Western countries,” he said after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, July 20.

The minister expressed confidence that “the existing conflict in the country must be solved peacefully” and stressed that “there is no crisis in Libya in the military sense”.

At this point the sides are negotiating the African Union’s initiative. There is on goal – to stop the bloodshed in the country,” the minister said.

He refused to discuss the question of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s exit.

“This question is not to be discussed,” he said.

Speaking about Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi’s possible future, Federation Council Committee on International Relations Chairman and the Kremlin’s special representative for Africa Mikhail Margelov said earlier, “There is a possible option where Gaddafi continues living in Libya as a private individual with his people and his tribe but relinquishes power and his family stays away from taking economic decisions.”

“Oriental countries have a strong tradition of forgiveness and reconciliation,” Margelov said. “Algeria’s former leader continued living quietly in his homeland after the overthrow of his regime, and a similar situation occurred with the former Sudanese President.”

Margelov believes that this solution could suit Libya as well.

“As for the outlooks of the Libyan opposition, it envisions Gaddafi’s departure from all the posts and the removal of his family members from the economic levers of power, but along with this they don’t make his departure from Libya a necessary condition,” he said.

“But all this is a subject of talks,” he added.

Margelov said that members of the Libyan National Transition Council would be content with any future for Gaddafi except for a political one.

“They do not need Gaddafi’s head, and no one is going to scalp him and nail it to the wall in his office,” he quoted members of the Libyan National Transition Council as saying.

The Council will accept any future for Gaddafi “except one: neither he himself nor members of his family can engage in political activities in Libya or hold other positions”, Margelov said.

“I have the impression that the Libyan National Transition Council is ready for a dialogue,” he added.

The Council is ready to “bring members of Gaddafi’s ruling Cabinet whose hands are not stained with blood into the future coalition government,” the senator said.

“It is important for a responsible person to admit that the situation in Libya has changed and to assess his position in the light of these changes,” he said.

The envoy also noted that Gaddafi, “referring to himself as the leader of the Libyan revolution, met as chief executive with the heads of other states and spoke at the United Nations, and so his statement that he is not a public official is a demonstration of undue modesty, to say the least”, Margelov said.

He stressed that the decision of the pre-trial division of the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Gaddafi does not close “the window of opportunity” for a political settlement in Libya.

Margelov admitted earlier that “the situation in Libya remains acute, and there has been little progress in starting a dialogue between the warring factions”.

According to Margelov, the parties to the conflict “should start talking about national reconciliation”.

“Wars in the East do not end quickly. The more blood is spilled, the more reasons for blood feud. Confrontation only increases losses from the export of hydrocarbons and leads to devastation of infrastructure that is hard to rebuilt,” he said.

He confirmed Moscow’s stance that “only Libyans themselves can find a way out of this crisis, as no foreign recipes can help”. 

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