August 24, 2011 / 6:00 PM / 8 years ago

Burkina Faso offers Gaddafi exile

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso, a former recipient of large amounts of Libyan aid, has offered Muammar Gaddafi exile but has also recognized the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya’s government.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi attends a ceremony marking the birth of Islam's Prophet Mohammed in Tripoli in this February 13, 2011 file photograph. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny/Files

Chad, another major aid recipient, also recognized the rebel council.

The African nations join a list of more than 40 countries who have recognized the rebels who have taken control of most of Libya and are now hunting the veteran leader.

Burkinabe Foreign Minister Yipene Djibril Bassolet said that Gaddafi could go into exile in his country even though it is a signatory of the International Criminal Court, which has charged him crimes against humanity.

“In the name of peace, I think we will take, with our partners in the international community, whatever steps are necessary,” Bassolet said, without giving any other details.

As recipients of Gaddafi’s largesse during his decades in power, the governments in Ouagadougou and N’Djamena had previously been hesitant about taking sides the conflict.

Libya’s rebels have often accused neighboring Chad of backing Gaddafi by sending mercenaries to put down the uprising, a charge denied by N’Djamena.

But a council delegation was in Chad on Wednesday when Moussa Dago, secretary general for Chad’s foreign affairs ministry, recognized its authority and called on it to protect Chadian interests in the country.

Burkina Faso, not a neighbor but previously a Gaddafi ally in sub Saharan Africa, also recognized the council as the only legitimate Libyan authority.

Gaddafi has said he is ready to fight to the death in Tripoli, although there have been a number of reports that he might seek refuge in an African nations.

Reporting by Madjiasra Nako in N'Djamena and Mathieu Bonkoungou in Ouagadougou; writing by David Lewis

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