Foreign Minister Suggests Free Elections In Libya
Abdul Ati al-Obeidi became Libya's foreign minister last month after Moussa Koussa defected from the country. According to al-Obeidi, the government discussed electing officials six months after the conflict in Libya ends.
The Guardian reported:
Obeidi said discussions about reform included "whether the Leader [Muammar Gaddafi] should stay and in what role, and whether he should retire". Gaddafi's future has become a pivotal issue between the regime and the opposition, which has demanded his departure.
Obeidi said: "Everything will be on the table."
The minister struck a notably conciliatory tone when speaking in his Tripoli office to the Guardian, the BBC, ITN and the Washington Post. Asked about how diplomatic efforts could bridge the gulf between the Libyan government and the opposition, he said: "It is not a case of it going our way or their way, it's a case of how we can sit together with our brothers."
One remaining question that lingered for the West, however, was the possibility of Gaddafi running, rather than stepping aside. Though some have suggested that NATO require him not to run, al-Obeidi said it would be undemocratic.
"The US, Britain and France – sometimes those countries contradict themselves," al-Obeidi said. "They talk about democracy but when it comes to Libya, they say he [Gaddafi] should leave. It should be up to the Libyan people. This should not be dictated from any other head of state. It is against the principle of democracy."