Rebel Offer: Qaddafi May Stay

Opposition leader says rebels would allow Qaddafi to remain in Libya if he leaves power.

Gil Ronen, | updated: 12:08

Benghazi, Libya
Benghazi, Libya

Libyan rebel leaders offered Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi the option of leaving power and remaining in his country, according to the head of the Libyan opposition movement. 

The offer is seen as the first concession by the rebels toward Qaddafi. The idea was raised by  rebel leader – and former Qaddafi justice minister – Mustafa Abdel Jalil, in a talk with Reuters at Benghazy Sunday. 
But there will be “no comfy retirement for the aging despot,” Jalil clarified. The rebels would decide where Qaddafi would live and he'd be under international supervision at all times.
Abdul-Jalil, who chairs the rebel Transitional National Council, added, “We offered that he can resign and order his soldiers to withdraw their barracks and positions, and then he can decide either to stay in Libya or abroad.”
“Either he leaves the country, or he goes to prison,” said rebel Salah Ibrahim Eissa.  
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu has officially recognized the rebel council as “the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.” He also promised the rebels $200 million in aid.
The rebel offer is seen as reflecting the feeling that fighting is drawing out with neither side being able to score a decisive victory. The rebels have managed to drive Colonel Qaddafi’s forces back from a number of cities in the Nafusah Mountains, and on Sunday, rebel commanders said they had killed a senior general outside the city of Kiklah.
Qaddafi's forces had an advantage over the rebels in the early fighting but NATO's intervention tipped the scale back in favor of the rebels.