Envoy move signals leader's willingness to go
Published 04/04/2011 | 05:00
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi yesterday despatched a trusted adviser to Greece for talks that could signal for the first time the Libyan leader's readiness to stand down.
Abdulati al-Obeidi, who has emerged as the Libyan regime's acting foreign minister after the defection to London last week of Moussa Koussa, was talking in Athens with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
He is the first senior envoy sent by Gaddafi since an international coalition started to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.
The trip raised the prospect that the Libyan leader, who has endured a two-week air attack by a coalition enforcing a UN Security Council resolution to protect civilians, would be willing to seek a ceasefire and to acknowledge international demands for his removal.
Reports suggested that Mr Obeidi had last week travelled to Tunisia with Mr Koussa but balked at the idea of defection.
There is said to be a growing realisation within the regime that international isolation will inflict a grim toll on Tripoli.
Mr Obeidi, a heavyweight in Gaddafi's shrinking group of advisers, appears to believe that a package of reforms and transition to a new type of leadership can be worked out. Some Libyan officials privately acknowledge this would see the removal of Gaddafi.
Mr Obeidi said last week that he was working for a "mutual solution" between a regime clinging to power and the international position that Gaddafi's would have to stand down. (© Daily Telegraph, London)