‘Blair tried to save Gaddafi’

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

LON­DON — Tony Blair warned Libyan dic­ta­tor Muam­mar Gaddafi to find safety as his regime be­gan to col­lapse.

Show­ing sur­pris­ing con­cern for the tyrant’s wel­fare, Mr Blair told him: “If you have a safe place to go then you should go there”.

There was no men­tion of fac­ing jus­tice and in­stead Mr Blair wanted to bro­ker a deal for Gaddafi.

The con­ver­sa­tion shines a light once again on his ques­tion­able links to the man re­spon­si­ble for decades of au­thor­i­tar­ian rule.

The former Prime Min­is­ter was crit­i­cised over his in­fa­mous “Deal in the desert” in 2004 which se­cured lu­cra­tive oil deals for BP and ended Libya’s in­ter­na­tional iso­la­tion.

He also wrote Gaddafi grov­el­ling let­ters which be­gan: “Dear Muam­mar, I trust you and your fam­ily are well”.

“The con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Mr Blair and Gaddafi was made pub­lic as part of the lat­est batch of emails re­leased from when Hil­lary Clin­ton was Sec­re­tary of State in re­sponse to a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest.

The rel­e­vant mes­sage is dated Fe­bru­ary 25, 2011 and was sent by Mr Blair’s head of strat­egy Cather­ine Rim­mer to Jake Sul­li­van, Mrs Clin­ton’s former top for­eign pol­icy ad­viser, who sent it on to her.

At the time Mr Blair was spe­cial en­voy to the Mid­dle East for the Quar­tet — the UN, the US, the EU and Rus­sia. Miss Rim­mer notes that “Mr Blair wanted me to let you know that he is mak­ing th­ese calls very pri­vately”.

Miss Rim­mer then di­rectly quotes Mr Blair telling Gaddafi: “The ab­so­lute key thing is that the blood­shed and vi­o­lence must stop... if you have a safe place to go then you should go there, be­cause this will not end peace­fully un­less that hap­pens.

“If this goes on for an­other day/two days we will go past the point. I’m say­ing this be­cause I be­lieve it deeply. If we can’t get a way through/out very quickly this will go past the point of no re­turn.”

An­other email from Fe­bru­ary 23, 2011 from Mr Sul­li­van to Mrs Clin­ton de­scribes how Mr Blair was sug­gested to Mrs Clin­ton as some­one who “might have a good re­la­tion­ship” with Gaddafi.

The dic­ta­tor fled the cap­i­tal Tripoli and was killed by rebels near Sirte, his birth­place, in Oc­to­ber 2011.

Other mes­sages sent and re­ceived by Mrs Clin­ton re­veal more de­tails about how Cherie Blair lob­bied her on be­half of her friends in the Qatari gov­ern­ment.

Ear­lier emails showed that in 2009 and in 2010 Mrs Blair ar­ranged a meet­ing be­tween Mrs Clin­ton and her friend Sheikha Mozah.

The lat­est batch shows that in the sum­mer of 2011 Mrs Blair also fa­cil­i­tated a meet­ing with Mrs Clin­ton and Fa­hed al-atiyah, chair­man of the Qatar Food Se­cu­rity Pro­gramme.

No­body for Mr or Mrs Blair was avail­able for com­ment.

Tony BLAIR (left) told Muam­mar GADDAFI to find A SAFE PLACE to Go.

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