Turkey proposes roadmap for peace in Libya

AP News
Posted: Apr 07, 2011 3:03 PM
Turkey proposes roadmap for peace in Libya

Turkey's prime minister proposed a roadmap for peace in Libya on Thursday, urging forces aligned with Moammar Gadhafi to withdraw from besieged cities, the establishment of humanitarian aid corridors and comprehensive democratic change.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the measures would be discussed at a meeting by a group set up to guide the international intervention in Libya in Qatar next week.

"Firstly, a real cease-fire must immediately be declared and Gadhafi's forces must lift the siege of some cities and withdraw," Erdogan told a televised news conference. "Secondly, humanitarian aid corridors must be set up to provide aid to all Libyans and thirdly, a comprehensive democratic change process should be started."

Erdogan said "solid steps must immediately be taken toward a constitutional political change process," following a real cease-fire.

The Turkish prime minister, meanwhile, assured the Libyan opposition that Turkey supports their demands, following recent protests in Libya against Turkey by some opposition members.

"We will continue to support your rightful demands," said Erdogan, denying allegations that Turkey opposed a NATO mission and tried to limit its scope. He said a special Turkish envoy has already met the Libyan opposition in Benghazi.

Turkey initially balked at the idea of military action in Libya, but is now taking part in the enforcement of a no-fly zone to shield civilians and has volunteered to lead humanitarian aid efforts.

Erdogan urged the Libyan administration to "shoulder a historical responsibility and open the way for democratic process."

He said "an end to the bloodshed" and preserving Libya's territorial integrity "particularly depends on the attitude of the Libyan administration."

Erdogan also extended support to the U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy to Libya, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, saying he should have a center role in finding a solution.

"We will always be on the side of the brotherly Libyan people," Erdogan added.

Britain's Foreign Office said the contact group that will meet in Qatar, which includes European powers, the U.S., allies from the Middle East and a number of international organizations will meet in Doha on Wednesday.

The ministry could not confirm precisely who has been invited to attend. British government officials said the U.S. would be represented, and that the Arab League is also expected to be at the talks.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said last week that he planned to travel to the talks alongside about a dozen other Arab, European and international officials.

The group was established during a summit in London last week to act as the political guide to the NATO-led military operation and humanitarian assistance mission in Libya.

Hague told Britain's Parliament last week that the panel would "maintain international unity and bring together a wide range of nations in support of a better future for Libya."

Gadhafi has been widely excluded from international efforts to broker a peace plan, with rebels insisting that his four-decade rule must end.

In Scotland, prosecutors confirmed that they would not have a chance Thursday to interview Moussa Koussa, the ex-Libyan foreign minister who fled to Britain via Tunisia last week and has spent eight days in discussions with diplomats and intelligence officials.

Prosecutors said on Monday they hoped to speak with Koussa within days over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, which killed 270 people _ mostly Americans.

In 2003, Libya acknowledged responsibility for the bombing and Scottish authorities believe Koussa could offer vital information to their ongoing inquiry.

Another former Gadhafi loyalist, Libya's ex-energy minister Omar Fathi bin Shatwan, has also held talks with British and other European diplomats to discuss the state of Gadhafi's regime. He told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he had fled to Malta on a fishing vessel.