Blair says don't underestimate Kadhafi

10th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former British prime minister Tony Blair cautioned Sunday that Moamer Kadhafi is well-skilled at holding onto power and dismissed the notion that the Libyan leader is "delusional."

"That is obviously not the case," Blair told CNN's show "State of the Union" program. "Whatever people say about being delusional and so forth, he's kept that grip there for 40 years."

Western strikes, backed by the Arab League, began on March 19 under a United Nations mandate to protect the civilian population after Kadhafi unleashed his security forces to quell pro-democracy protests.

"This cannot end in any other way than at some point an agreed process of change in Libya," Blair said. "Whether we carry on for a long time or a short time, that's what's going to happen. The status quo is not an option."

He added: "There are I think probably voices around him (Kadhafi) saying, look, 'the only sensible way out of this is to have an agreed process of change.'"

Blair is special envoy of the Middle East "Quartet" -- established in 2002 to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinians and comprised of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.

He said the ongoing unrest in the Middle East makes it more difficult to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel, for example, had a stable and predictable relationship with former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

"Now they're dealing with an unpredictable situation," said Blair. "On the other hand, Israel is a democracy and I think long term they see that this can be positive and beneficial. The key thing in the peace process right now is to inject back a sense of direction.

"The core of this is to understand that the only way forward is to accept that we need to move towards a Palestinian state that is properly and securely governed, that's a viable state. That is also the best security for Israel."

© 2011 AFP

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