Spain Expels Libyan Diplomats; Qaddafi Son Looks for a Deal

Spain booted the diplomats "because the Qadhafi regime has lost all legitimacy"

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In another sign of the mounting international censure of Muammar Qaddafi's regime, Spain has expelled the Libyan ambassador to Madrid and three other Libyan diplomats "because the Qadhafi regime has lost all legitimacy due to its continual repression of the Libyan population" and given them ten days to leave the country, according to CNN. CNN notes that while Spanish Foreign Ministry Trinidad Jimenez (above) visited the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi last week and recognized the opposition as the "legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Libyan people," not all ties are severed between Spain and Libya. Spain, which is participating in the NATO campaign in Libya, still has an embassy in Tripoli and a diplomatic relationship with the regime.

Spain isn't the only country to expel Libyan diplomats in an effort to hem in the Qaddafi regime. The United Arab Emirates gave their Libyan ambassador only 72 hours to leave on Monday after officially recognizing the rebels (ten days, by contrast, seems generous). In fact, in a speech in Ethiopia earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged all African leaders to expel Libyan diplomats from their countries. This morning it seemed like all the diplomatic pressure might have had an effect when Qaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, told an Italian newspaper that his father was willing to hold elections within three months and step aside if he lost. But Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi has since dismissed the idea, telling reporters, "I would like to correct [that] and say that the leader of the revolution is not concerned by any referendum," according to Reuters. Al-Mahmoudi added that NATO must stop its bombing campaign before there can be peace in the country.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.