Libya Foreign Minister: Elections Possible if Bombing Stops

Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al Obeidi said that elections, including on the future of Muammar Gadhafi, could take place within six months if Western air strikes stop.

Libya's government could hold elections, including on the future of leader Muammar Gadhafi, if Western air strikes stopped, the BBC quoted Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al Obeidi as saying.

"If the bombing stopped, al Obeidi said, after six months there could be an election supervised by the UN," BBC radio reported on Wednesday.

Libya FM Abdul Ati al-Obeidi in Malta, April 2011, Reuters

"The foreign minister said the election could cover any issue raised by all Libyans, anything could go on the table, including, he implied, the future of Gadhafi as leader."

BBC television later broadcast one of the minister's comments made during the interview: "It will cover whatever issue is raised by all Libyans."

Al Obeidi said the Libyan government was "serious about a properly verifiable ceasefire supervised by foreign observers", the BBC said.

He also criticized Britain's decision to send military officers to advise Libyan rebels.

London said on Tuesday it would send about a dozen officers to help insurgents improve their organization and communications, but would not arm the rebels or train them to fight.

"He (al Obeidi) said that would only prolong the fighting," the BBC said.

A NATO-led coalition is enforcing a UN-mandated no-fly zone in Libya, which authorizes "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from attack by Gadhafi's forces.

It is also policing an arms embargo and has targeted Gadhafi's military infrastructure.