Clinton – Gaddafi, allies may be seeking way out – report


Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his allies, facing a bombing campaign by Western nations, may be exploring exile options, although it is unclear if he would seriously contemplate stepping aside, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

“Some of it is theatre,” Clinton told ABC News in an interview, saying the United States was aware of people reaching out “allegedly on Gaddafi’s behalf” to try to assess their options.
“A lot of it is just the way he behaves. It’s somewhat unpredictable,” she said. “But some of it, we think, is exploring. You know, what are my options, where could I go, what could I do. And we would encourage that.”

The Western states enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians agreed on Tuesday to use NATO to drive the military effort, but officials said the divided alliance was far from agreeing the details of the mission, Reuters reports.

Gaddafi, in his first appearance since the air campaign began, vowed to fight on. “We will be victorious in the end,” he told crowds at his Tripoli compound who have volunteered to be human shields in a speech carried live television.

Clinton also said the U.S. government had received unconfirmed reports that at least one of Gaddafi’s sons may have been killed in the coalition air strikes. She said the “evidence is not sufficient” to confirm the reports, but added it was not U.S. forces that would have killed him.

Clinton said details on who will assume leadership of the coalition were still being worked. She said she was not worried about the transition.
“NATO will be definitely involved because we do have a lot of NATO members who are committed to this process. And, you know, they want to see command and control that is organized,” she said. “But I’m very relaxed about it … I think it is proceeding. It’s moving forward in the right direction and we will have what we need in the next few days.”