Amb. Susan Rice: U.S. Not Ruling Out Deal for Moammar Gadhafi Exile

By Kate McCarthy

Mar 29, 2011 8:29am

Is there a deal in the works to give Moammar Gadhafi safe haven out of Libya?  Lots of tantalizing clues out there this morning, with the NY Post and the Times of London reporting that Italian officials are developing a plan that would grant Gadhafi immunity from war crimes prosecution if he goes into exile.  And when I asked UN Ambassador Susan Rice about the idea on this morning’s "GMA", she opened the door pretty far.

“The expectation, both of the Libyan people and the international community is that there needs to be justice for the crimes that are committed,” she said. “But obviously should there be an opportunity for some sort of arrangement for Gadhafi to step aside that is something the Libyan people will have to judge and we will take it as it comes.”

Rice suggested twice that the U.S. would follow the lead of the Libyan rebels. If they’re ok with the deal, all indications point to the U.S. signing off too. Administration officials also say that the U.S. is still getting feelers about a peaceful endgame from people close to Gadhafi. Amb. Rice didn’t deny that either, but said the U.S. needs to see something more concrete.

“I think we will be more persuaded by actions rather than prospects or feelers and I think that the message for Gadhafi and those closest to him is that history is not on his side, time is not on his side, the pressure is mounting, the sanctions are biting and he needs to take a decision that will be for the benefit of the Libyan people,” she said.

Rice also didn’t rule out having the U.S. arm the Libyan rebels if Gadhafi doesn’t go.

Watch the whole interview here:

George Stephanopoulos

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