Libyan opposition unity indispensable for settlement

MOSCOW, August 22 (Itar-Tass) — Opposition unity is indispensable for the political settlement in Libya, Federation Council Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov said on Monday.

The Russian presidential special envoy for Africa said Tripoli’s seizure by rebels “does not mean the settlement of the crisis in Libya”. “Revolutions’ experience tells us it is more difficult to retain the power than to seize it,” he said.

“The crisis in Libya is political. Therefore, it is impossible to settle it by only military means: the military success does not mean the political success,” Margelov said. “Today’s task is to hold non-easy, multilateral talks between all segments of the Libyan elite – Al Gaddafi’s former supporters, rebels themselves, representatives of the royal family and all ·migr· Libyan groups,” the Russian envoy said.

He made several trips to the region, including to Libya.

In addition, Margelov said the success of the talks was conditioned by unity in the Libyan opposition. “The world community needs a democratic and predictable Libya. Thus, different opposition forces in Libya should unite in order to ensure peace in the region,” he stressed.

“The geostrategic role of Libya in the Mediterranean region, the country’s mineral resources and its special relationship with European countries impose responsibility on winners,” he pointed out. “During my visit to Benghazi, the opposition said it sought to maintain friendly and business-like relationship with Russia,” Margelov recalled.

Libyan rebels raced into Tripoli on Sunday and met little resistance as Muammar Al Gaddafi’s defenders melted away and his 42-year rule rapidly crumbled.

Earlier, Margelov said that “Moscow insists on ceasefire in Jamahiriya and a transition to political methods of settlement”.

At the same time, he admitted, “The situation in Libya remains acute, and there has been little progress in starting a dialogue between the warring factions”.

So, Margelov expects “difficult talks in Tripoli” but hopes that “they will clarify whether there are any, at least minimal, resources for a peaceable settlement”.

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.

Margelov noted that he had begun his mediating efforts in Benghazi and continued them in Cairo during consultations with Gaddafi’s cousin Ahmed Gaddafi al-Dam, who represents a considerable part of the Libyan political elite.

These meetings convinced him that “both sides are well aware that the current situation in Libya cannot be resolved by force, and that they should talk about the revival of the country”.

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

Margelov said that the fate of Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi was a subject matter of the upcoming talks in Tripoli.

Replying to a question about Gaddafi’s possible future, Margelov said, “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.

To prove his point, he quoted the positions stated by the leaders of anti-Gaddafi insurgents and some approaches declared by the international community.

“I don’t have the impression that the G8 leaders might be willing to see Gaddafi’s skull,” Margelov said. “They need a predictable advanced Libya, a dignified member of the international community.”

“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.


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