Obama asks Medvedev to make exile offer to Gaddafi
AFP, Friday 27 May 2011
According to a Russian daily, the US and France have been trying to convince Russia to accept the role of mediator in negotiations with the Libyan leader

US President Barack Obama has asked his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to tell Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he will remain alive if he leaves the country, the Kommersant daily reported Friday.

Citing a Russian official present during Obama's meeting with Medvedev on the sidelines of the G8 summit in France on Thursday, the report said Washington's proposal sounded unrealistic to Moscow.

"Such a proposal did not seem particularly realistic to Russia," the respected business daily quoted the Russian diplomatic source as saying.

"We asked them: 'Do you yourselves believe that Gaddafi can be convinced to give everything up?'."

Kommersant's report appears to flesh out the details of comments from Medvedev's top spokesperson, who said on Thursday that "requests have been voiced that Russia take upon itself the role of a mediator" in the conflict.

The Moscow newspaper's source suggested that both Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were pressing Russia to accept the role of mediator because they feared the conflict was reaching a stalemate.

"Acknowledging that the conflict has dragged on for too long, and the West has severed all connections with Gaddafi and his circle Russia has been offered to act as a mediator in negotiations with the Libyan leader," the source said.

Kommersant said the talks between Obama and Medvedev dragged on longer than scheduled and prompted both to be late for the G8 meeting by 25 minutes.

The Russian source said Medvedev was mulling the offer and did not turn down Obama outright.

"We will think it over," the Russian source told the newspaper.