Clinton says Gaddafi must go, hints at flexibility

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the United States wants Muammar Gaddafi to leave power and to depart Libya but she did not include this in a list of “non-negotiable” demands.

Speaking to reporters, Clinton largely sidestepped a question about the U.S. view of an African Union peace plan for the North African country, which is gripped by a civil war between Gaddafi’s forces and rebels.

Clinton said she had received accounts of the proposal and how it was received by both sides but said she was waiting to get “a full readout.” She did not directly address a query on whether the proposal required that Gaddafi step down.

“We have made it very clear that we want to see a ceasefire. We want to see the Libyan regime forces pull back from the areas that they have forcibly entered. We want to see a resumption of water, electricity and other services to cities that have been brutalized by the Gaddafi forces. We want to see humanitarian assistance reach the people of Libya. These terms are non-negotiable,” Clinton told reporters.

“We believe, too, that there needs to be a transition that reflects the will of the Libyan people and the departure of Gaddafi from power and from Libya,” she added during a news conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Eric Beech)

Clinton says Gaddafi must go, hints at flexibility