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Libyan rebel chief says Qaddafi could stay after all

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Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

(Read caption) Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, listens as France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, right, speaks at a press conference in London, Monday, July 25. This is the first time the Foreign Secretary has hosted Juppe, and their discussions focused on Libya, the Middle East, Arab Spring and the UK-France cooperation across bilateral and multilateral issues.

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday that Britain would accept an agreement in Libya that allowed Muammar Qaddafi to remain in the country after stepping down from power.

The announcement came after rebel leader Mustapha Abdul Jalil said that Libya's rebels would be willing to sign an agreement that allows Mr. Qaddafi to remain in the country under conditions they set. Mr. Hague's announcement is essentially a signal to the rebels that Britain will accept that outcome if that is what they choose.

"He must never again be able to threaten the lives of Libyan civilians nor to destabilise Libya once he has left power," Hague said, according to the Guardian. "Obviously, leaving Libya itself would be the best way of showing the Libyan people they no longer have to live in fear of Gaddafi. But as I have said all along, this is ultimately a question for Libyans to determine."

Hague also said that Qaddafi may not end up being arraigned in the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

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