Friday, May 27, 2011

Libyan: Russia offers to mediate ex-ally Gadhafi's exit

By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press       
Source:
Yahoo News

AP – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, speaks with
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan
during a bilateral …


Two best friends  
Moammar Gadhafi of Lybia, and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia ......
  DEAUVILLE, France – Russia abandoned one-time ally Moammar Gadhafi and offered Friday to mediate a deal for the Libyan leader to leave the country he has ruled for more than 40 years.


The striking proposal by a leading critic of the NATO bombing campaign reflects growing international frustration with the Libyan crisis and a desire by the Kremlin for influence in the rapidly changing Arab landscape.


With Gadhafi increasingly isolated and NATO jets intensifying their attacks, Russia may also be eyeing Libya's oil and gas and preparing for the prospect that the lucrative Libyan market will fall into full rebel control.

"He should leave," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said of Gadhafi. "I proposed our mediation services to my partners. Everyone thinks that would be useful."

The proposal thrust Medvedev into the spotlight at a summit in France of Group of Eight rich nations. Talk of this year's Arab world uprisings has dominated the summit.

Analysts question whether Russia still has any leverage over Gadhafi, and the leaders of France, Britain and Germany said there's no point in negotiating directly with the Libyan leader himself.

"If Gadhafi makes this decision, which will be beneficial for the country and the people of Libya, then it will be possible to discuss the form of his departure, what country may accept him and on what terms, and what he may keep and what he must lose," Medvedev told reporters.

Medvedev said he is sending envoy Mikhail Margelov to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi immediately to start negotiating, and that talks with the Libyan government could take place later. Margelov said earlier Friday that it's necessary to negotiate with all "reasonable" representatives of the government, including Gadhafi's sons.

In response, Libya's deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaim, said: "Russia is one of the traditional friends of Libya. ... We don't think that Russia will sway its position to side with NATO."

He would not say whether Gadhafi had been informed of Medvedev's proposal, but told reporters in Tripoli that the Libyan leader was constantly watching the news.

South African President Jacob Zuma is also using his party's ties to Gadhafi to work out a peaceful outcome, heading to Libya on behalf of the African Union.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called Russian, South African and U.N. mediation efforts with Gadhafi "constructive," but said they needed to make clear that the Libyan leader must leave power.

"I don't know if it's up to the international community, given what Gadhafi has done against his own people, to prepare him any kind of easy exit or some kind of golden parachute to leave Libya," Toner told reporters.

Asked what value the mediation might then hold, Toner said the efforts could be useful "to make him or his regime see clearly the writing on the wall."

"There's no way out," Toner added. "He's no longer the legitimate leader in the eyes of the international community, in the eyes of his own people. The sooner he accepts that and moves on, the better."

It's unclear what exactly Gadhafi — known as the Leader of the Revolution or Brother Leader in Libya — could step down from. He has no constitutional executive position, but wields power by force of his personality and presence, making it difficult to guarantee that he has given up power as long as he and his sons remain in the country.

The opposition wants Gadhafi exiled. Medvedev said he wouldn't offer Gadhafi refuge in Russia but said with a grin, "such countries could be found" that would be willing to take him in.

Russian officials have been critical of Gadhafi but also say NATO is using excessive force. Russia recently held talks with representatives of both Gadhafi's government and the rebels.

Russia often straddles the divide between the Western nations with which it shares a table in the G-8, and the Arab nations that Moscow nurtured during the Soviet era.

Moscow offered to negotiate with Saddam Hussein in Iraq in the 1990s, and is a member of the so-called Quartet negotiating for Mideast peace, alongside the United States, European Union and United Nations.

Over the past decade, the Kremlin sought to revive its influence in the Middle East and saw Gadhafi as one of its partners in the region. Libya struck multibillion dollar deals to procure Russian-made weapons, and Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom has big investments in Libya that have been threatened by Gadhafi's attacks on rebel forces.

Medvedev discussed the mediation offer with President Barack Obama at talks on the sidelines of the G-8.
"The Russians of course have long-standing relationships in Libya that frankly we don't have," U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Friday. "We are going to be in close touch with the Russians as they pursue their conversations with the Libyans."

A Libyan rebel spokesman, Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, said Russia's offer should have come sooner. "It's too late, and it's not a big deal," Ghoga, the vice chairman of the opposition National Transitional Council, told a rally in the eastern city of Benghazi.

But the timing may be propitious.
Libya's rebels have consolidated their position, and NATO pounded Tripoli with its heaviest strikes yet this week. Fuel and food shortages in the capital are starting to take a toll.

"The world does not see (Gadhafi) as the Libyan leader, and this is the position of not only the G-8 but also of all the African states that attended today's summit," Medvedev said.

A Moscow-based Middle East expert expressed doubt that Gadhafi will agree to step down after Benghazi-based opposition leaders rejected a cease-fire agreement proposed by the African Union in late March.

Gadhafi "will fight to the end with unpredictable consequences for everyone involved," Yevgeny Satanovsky, head of the Moscow-based Middle East Institute, told The Associated Press.

On Friday, rebel fighters clashed with government forces to the south and west of the insurgent-held city of Misrata. Dr. Mustafa Omar of Hikma hospital said five rebels were killed and 26 wounded. It was unclear if any government soldiers were killed.

While rebel fighters have pushed Gadhafi's troops to Misrata's outskirts, the city, Libya's third largest, has been under siege for months, receiving food and medical supplies only by sea.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, hosting the G-8 summit, said Friday there is "great unanimity" about an "intensification of the military intervention" to protect civilians.

He did not say how, but France and Britain said this week they are ready to deploy attack helicopters in the campaign.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters in Deauville that the deployment of helicopters was "part of the process of turning up the pressure" on Gadhafi. He said the campaign is entering a "new phase."

So far, the NATO campaign has relied largely on strike jets dropping munitions from an altitude of about 15,000 feet (4,600 meters). The helicopters, flying much lower and slower, could more accurately identify targets in densely populated areas while risking fewer civilian lives. But such flights would also expose the helicopter crews to greater risks.

___
Michelle Faul in Benghazi, Ryan Lucas in Misrata, Vladimir Isachenkov and Mansur Mirovalev in Moscow, Don Melvin in Brussels, and Jamey Keaten and Julie Pace in Deauville, and Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.

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Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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