French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé expressed a bit of a softer stance on a surrender and cease-fire deal with embattled Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
In an interview with French LCI TV, Juppé said Gadhafi could be allowed to stay in Libya if he gives up politics. CNN reports:
"One of the possibilities is that he (Gadhafi) remains in Libya," Alain Juppe told French news channel LCI. "But on the condition that he stays away from Libyan political life. This is what we are waiting for before we begin the political process for a cease-fire."
State-run Libyan TV played an audio message from Gadhafi Tuesday saying that he will never surrender. He also called on civilians and armed citizens to march on rebel territories in the east and west of the country to "cleanse it from mercenaries and traitors."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that whether Gadhafi stays is up to the Libyan people.
"He needs to remove himself from power ... and then it's up to the Libyan people to decide," said Carney.
Reuters spoke to a few experts and they agreed that this was a first step toward breaking a stalemate that bombing has failed to move forward:
Saad Djebbar, a London-based former lawyer for the Libyan government, also read Juppe's comments as a starting point.
"Gaddafi does not want to be seen to be defeated. That's very important for him. This is the only way," he said.
"The fundamental twin principles for a settlement are a face-saving formula for Gaddafi to leave power but stay in Libya, at least for a time ... and then in return for him to get immunity from prosecution by way of a Security Council resolution, to take care of the ICC charges."
The Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government, reported negotiations were ongoing in France and Moscow. Gadhafi's Foreign Minister said discussions of Gadhafi's possible departure "were not part of his talks in Moscow."
VOA adds that meanwhile, fighting has escalated in the port of Brega, where 18 rebel fighters have been killed since Tuesday.