Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s son said the strongman was willing to hold free elections and step aside if he loses, while Russia and China urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to “meticulously adhere” to United Nations’ resolutions authorizing force in the war-torn country.
The moves, which come amid mounting international pressure to find a resolution to Libya’s four-month conflict, could test the unity of alliance states seeking the regime’s ouster.
Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Col. Gadhafi’s son and onetime heir apparent Seif al-Islam Gadhafi said in an interview published Thursday that elections could be held within three months, with transparency guaranteed by the presence of international observers. Mr. Gadhafi said his father, who took power in a military coup in 1969, would be ready to step aside if he lost the election but would not go into exile.
“I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Libyans stand with my father and see the rebels as fanatical Islamist fundamentalists, terrorists stirred up from abroad,” Corriere quoted him as saying.
The rebel leadership in Benghazi, eastern Libya, immediately rejected the offer, stressing that the Gadhafi family would have no role in Libyan elections. That stance was echoed by Washington, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying, “It’s a little late for any proposals by Gadhafi and his circles for democratic change….It’s time for him to go.”
But in Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese leader Hu Jintao stepped up diplomatic pressure on NATO, issuing a joint statement expressing concern about the lack of resolution to the Libyan conflict and urging a “meticulous adherence” to U.N. Security Council resolutions; a thinly veiled criticism of the alliance’s broad interpretation of the mandate.
Full Article: Gadhafi’s Offer To Hold Elections Rejected – WSJ.com.