Reuters | July 5, 2011
MOSCOW – A Russian newspaper said on Tuesday that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was willing to give up power in exchange for security guarantees, citing a high-level Russian official.
The report in the respected daily Kommersant, which did not identify its source, came a day after the search for ways to end the war in Libya dominated Russia’s talks with NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and South African President Jacob Zuma.
“The colonel (Gaddafi) is sending signals that he is prepared to relinquish power in exchange for security guarantees,” Kommersant quoted what it called a high-level source in the Russian leadership as saying.
The source said in the report that other nations, potentially including France, were willing to provide those guarantees.
The Kommersant report also said Gaddafi wanted his son Saif al-Islam to be permitted to run in elections if he steps down, a condition the rebels might not accept.
The Libyan government said on Monday that it was in talks with opposition figures, but the other side stuck to entrenched positions on Gaddafi’s fate.
Saif al-Islam told a French newspaper there was no question of negotiating an end to his father’s 42-year rule, and the rebel National Transitional Council backtracked on its statement that Gaddafi could stay in Libya if he gave up all power.
(Reporting by Steve Gutterman; editing by Ralph Boulton)