Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has reportedly used his personal friendship with the Libyan dictator to ask him to stop the killing of protestors against his regime.
Blair who offered Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi his “hand of friendship” back in 2004 has apparently called him twice on Friday.
According to Whitehall sources Blair once called Qaddafi to advice him against the attacks on the civilian demonstrators while a second call followed to inform the Libyan dictator that London believes he should step down.
There was no comment on former contacts with Qaddafi or why London felt such a message could be transmitted through Blair rather than publicly announced.
Analysts say the move can raise questions about Britain’s relations with Qaddafi as London has a record of secret connections with dictators including former rulers of Iran.
During the Second World War, the government in London forced the abdication of the then Iranian dictator Reza Pahlavi who took power on December 15, 1925 and ruled until September 16, 1941 with the direct support of Britain.
At the time, London replaced Reza Pahlavi with his son Mohammad-Reza who continued his tyrannical rule until he was deposed by the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.
Qaddafi, however, seems to have defied London and Blair as he publicly called on his loyalists to “defend the nation” and crush the enemy” behind it.
He is reportedly arming his supporters to suppress the popular uprising against his regime.
Blair, who negotiated the 2004 “deal in the desert” with Qaddafi has been criticized over the past days for his close ties with the dictator’s regime.
Under the deal, Qaddafi admitted to stop helping international terror in return for gaining international oil companies’ help to extract Libya’s huge oil reserves.
Blair’s close contact with the Libyan regime was revealed earlier on Friday when US State Department spokesman P J Crowley said in a news briefing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has discussed the situation in Libya with Blair among other international figures.
Crowley said Blair “has very important and valuable contacts inside of Libya”.
Blair has insisted he has never had any commercial ties with the Qaddafi family or the members of the Libyan government but he has been travelling to the African country over the past years as a business representative for the US bank JP Morgan and he personally met Qaddafi in Tripoli last summer.
Blair’s office has not commented on his Friday calls.