'US, West seeking country of refuge for Gaddafi'
LAST UPDATED: 04/17/2011 09:48
Report: Western allies seeking African country where Gaddafi would not be expedited to trial at International Criminal Court.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Photo: REUTERS
Obama administration has reportedly begun searching for a country which could
provide Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shelter if he is forcibly
removed from power, The New York Times said
Sunday, amid potential complications that could arise if Gaddafi were
indicted by the International Criminal Court for the Lockerbie bombing
in 1988 and crimes against his own people in the recent conflict.
According to The New York Times,
the Obama administration may seek an African country that is not a
signatory of the treaty that requires extraditing those indicted by the
court. The US-proposed idea is that sending Gaddafi to a country that
can guarantee his safety may give him more incentive to step down, which would
allow the US to fulfill its mission of seeing the leader out while not
resorting to sending ground troops to Libya.
West seeks regime change in Libya; Misrata bombarded
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On Saturday, the US president acknowledged that the military situation on
the ground in Libya had reached a stalemate. On top of that, no credible
rebel leader has emerged as a likely successor to the Libyan dictator,
who has ruled the North African country for more than 40 years.
Up to this point, Gaddafi has shown no sign of a willingness to step down. Pro-Gaddafi forces continued to shell rebel locations in Misrata on Sunday, and the leader
himself has said that he has no intention to yield power. While the UN
has stated that foreign operations cannot specifically focus on ousting
Gaddafi, Western countries have publicly announced that their mission includes removing him from power.
Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron
and French President Nicolas Sarkozy published a joint newspaper
article on Friday vowing to continue their military campaign until
Gaddafi leaves power, saying their new aim was not only to protect
Libyan civilians, but also to remove the Libyan despot. Both leaders
said that Libya could never be safe under Gaddafi's guise.
A senior US official was quoted in The New York Times as
saying that unlike in Iraq, the US administration wanted to make sure that
Libyan citizens played an active role in creating a new government if
Gaddafi is removed, whether by force or of his own free will. "We're simply trying...to
organize some peaceful way to organize an exit, if the opportunity
As for where to send the Libyan leader if such an
"opportunity arises," both African and Western countries are staying
quiet. The African Union, while making subtle suggestions, has not
singled out a specific country. While nearly half of all African
countries are signatories of the Rome Statute, which requires the
extradition of those indicted by the International Court, no government seems
ready yet to openly offer Gaddafi a potential refuge should he leave Libya.
Reuters contributed to this report.