Libya Contact Group 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
ISTANBUL - An international Libya contact group meeting will recognize the Benghazi-based opposition council as the representative of the Libyan people, leaving Muammar Gaddafi no option but to step down, Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Friday.
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Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Istanbul meeting, Frattini said the UN secretary-general's special envoy to Libya, Abdul Elah Al-Khatib, would be authorized to present terms for Gaddafi to leave power, in a political package that will include a ceasefire to halt fighting in the civil war.
"Today, we will see the final document where the contact group recognizes TNC as the interlocutor representing Libyan people. So (there is) no other option but for Gaddafi to leave," Frattini said. The TNC refers to the rebel Transitional National Council.
The group, made up of more than 30 governments and international and
regional organizations, had decided that communications with the Gaddafi
government in Tripoli should be channeled through the UN envoy,
The fourth meeting of the Libya contact group, established in London in
March, comes after reports suggesting Gaddafi might be ready to give up
his 41-year rule if he could get a deal.
Frattini said a negotiating team led by Khatib would decide whether
Gaddafi would be allowed to stay in Libya or leave the country.
"They will decide not if Gaddafi leaves power, but how he leaves power
and when," Frattini said. "This is a matter of how and when, not if."
"That said, it is an open point whether to accept after Gaddafi's
departure (that) he stays in the country, or he leaves the country," the
Italian minister said, adding it was up to Khatib and his staff to
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the European Union's foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton were among more than a dozen foreign
ministers attending the one-day meeting in Istanbul
, along with heads of NATO, the Arab League and other regional organizations.