Gaddafi offered ‘guarantee’ to leave Libya

TURKEY has offered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi a :guarantee” in return for his departure from the north African country but has received no reply, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.

Gaddafi “has no other option but to leave Libya — with a guarantee to be given to him… We have given him this guarantee. We have told him we will help him to be sent wherever he wants to go,” Erdogan said on NTV television yesterday.

“Depending on the reply we will get from him, we will take up the issue with our (NATO) allies, but unfortunately we have received no reply so far,” he said.

Erdogan did not specify what the assurances entailed and when the offer was made.

He lamented that Gaddafi and his entourage continued “to really resist change” even though the veteran strongman “has largely lost his leadership position” within Libya’s tribal structure.

On Thursday, major powers met in Abu Dhabi to map out what US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called an inevitable “post-Gaddafi Libya” as Italy promised hundreds of millions of euros in aid to answer rebel pleas for funds.

People close to Gaddafi, Clinton said, have been making contacts with many different interlocutors about the “potential for a transition”.

She said the international community must over the next month, when more talks on Libya are held in Istanbul, make “sure that all of those contacts are understood and evaluated because they occur with many different interlocutors”.

Erdogan had first urged Gaddafi to cede power and leave the country in early May after Ankara failed to convince him to step down in discreet contacts.

Turkey, NATO’s sole Muslim-majority member and a key regional power, toughened its position after initial criticism of the US-led air strikes on Libya and insistance on a limited combat role for NATO once the alliance took over the command.

It has refused to take part in air raids, contributing six military vessels to a patrol mission enforcing a UN-mandated arms embargo in Libyan waters.

It has also undertaken several humanitarian operations, notably the evacuation of several hundred wounded Libyans from rebel-held areas for treatment in Turkey.

In April, Ankara proposed a :roadmap” to end the conflict in Libya, urging an immediate ceasefire, the lifting of sieges by regime forces of rebel-held towns and the initiation of a “transformation process” that would lead to free elections.

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