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France says Gaddafi may stay in Libya

France says Gaddafi may stay in Libya
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The extended fighting in Libya has brought a French proposal that leader Muammar Gaddafi be allowed to stay in the country. In what is clearly a strategic minefield, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has said foreign powers are ready to let Gaddafi stay if he steps down. France is keen to prevent NATO-led military action in Libya from dragging on.

In Madrid, Juppe said: “Gaddafi has to leave power, and give up any civil and military roles. That is a condition for us that could lead to a cease fire and a resumption of national dialogue.”

Washington shared this view. The White House also said it is up to the people of Libya to decide whether to banish Gaddafi.

Tripoli dismissed Juppe’s proposal.

On the battlefield, rebels suffered more casualties fighting for the eastern oil hub of Brega, which has changed hands several times in the past five months. A hospital doctor said yesterday was a disaster. Eighteen rebels were killed and up to 150 wounded.