France FM: Gadhafi Could Remain in Libya if He Gives Up Power

Alain Juppe says Muammar Gadhafi can stay in Libya 'on condition, that he clearly removes himself from Libyan political life'; deal could see Gadhafi evade trial at ICC for crimes against humanity.

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi could remain in Libya if he agreed to step down, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe suggested Wednesday.

"One of the hypotheses envisaged is that he stays in Libya, but on condition, that he very clearly removes himself from Libyan political life," Juppe told France's LCI television.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe - AP - July 15 2011

Such a deal could see Gadhafi escape trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Juppe said the issue of the ICC warrant for Gaddafi's arrest was "not being discussed at the moment."

"There are procedures that have to be followed and we'll see then, as part of the negotiations, what consequences will follow," he said.

Juppe last week said France was in contact with the Gadhafi regime about his possible departure from office, but that the discussions were not yet at the stage of "a real negotiation."

The rebels fighting Gadhafi's 42-year rule have also previously said they could envisage him retiring to an oasis if he and his family agreed to hand over the reins of power.

Juppe reiterated Wednesday that such an undertaking by Gadhafi was a precondition for ending four months of NATO bombardments against his regime.

A ceasefire would require "a formal and clear engagement by Gadhafi to renounce his civilian and military responsibilities," Juppe said.