Monday, August 22, 2011

Libya: Col Gaddafi could flee to Venezuela or Cuba

Colonel Gaddafi could flee to a country not signed up to the International Criminal Court such as Venezuela or Cuba, South African sources say.

The Brother Leader is alive and remains in Libya, one senior government source said. But he added that plans are on the table to spirit him out of the country to allow breathing space for a peace process led by the National Transitional Council which has now claimed control of most of the capital Tripoli.

Despite official denials, South Africa will play a key role in negotiations about Gaddafi's fate. It is not only one of most influential countries in the African Union, but its President Jacob Zuma was appointed the AU's chief mediator in the crisis and has visited Col Gaddafi twice since hostilities began in February.

A South African air force plane remains on standby in Tunisia and, the source said, the South Africans are ready to seek safe passage for Gaddafi with the help of neighbouring countries Tunisia or Algeria if he decided to leave.

"We are not going to walk away from this," the source told The Daily Telegraph. "It's larger than the question of Gaddafi the person. It's a question of the unity of the Libyans and the maximum chance being created for that process to happen."

Mate Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's foreign minister, has rejected reports that South Africa itself might be a venue for Gaddafi in exile. more