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By Frank Jack Daniel
NEW DELHI, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The United Nations will play a leading role in Libya in the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi’s death, but it was up to the country’s new authorities to decide whether that includes peace-keeping troops, the French foreign minister said on Friday.
“It will be up to the command of the NTC (National Transitional Council,)” Alain Juppe said, when asked whether the U.N. role would include a peace-keeping force on the ground.
“I think the NTC doesn’t wish for a military force flying a U.N. flag on the ground, but on the other hand, they need civilian assistance and monitoring,” he added.
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy spearheaded a Franco-British move in NATO to back the revolt against Gaddafi. In the U.N.-mandated military operation to protect civilians, NATO has since March 31 been conducting air strikes, enforcing a no-fly zone and maintaining an arms embargo with naval patrols.
Speaking in the Indian capital New Delhi, Juppe also said Gaddafi was offered “good conditions” for surrendering to the Libyan fighters, which he had refused.
Gaddafi was killed on Thursday after being captured by the Libyan fighters he once scorned as “rats”, when they overran the 69-year-old fugitive strongman’s last bastion of resistance in his hometown of Sirte.
The U.N. human rights office has called for a full investigation into Gaddafi’s death, following separate cell phone images showing a wounded Gaddafi first alive and then later dead amidst a jumble of anti-Gaddafi fighters.
“The NTC proposed to Gaddafi and his last forces good conditions of rendition,” Juppe said. “He refused that and fought against the NTC forces until the end.”
One of Gaddafi’s sons is said to be fleeing south from Sirte towards Libya’s border with Niger, a senior military commander from the NTC said on Friday.
For other Libya stories, click on Editing by Malini Menon