05 MAR 2011
By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Maltese EU commissioner John Dalli has made comments which appear to support Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and which flatly contradict those of Mr Dalli's boss, Jose Manuel Barroso.
Speaking to press at an event organised by the Malta Business Bureau
on Friday (4 March) morning in Malta, the EU health commissioner, who has a long history of commercial links with Libya, said he "didn't think [he] had the right, or anyone else, to make a statement on whether he [Gaddafi] should step down."
He added: "I think Gaddafi should make his own decisions. He has the assessment of the people, as he has said on TV ... I think Gaddafi has made the first attempt towards conciliation."
Mr Dalli said he is "in no way" a defender of Gaddafi and condemned the violence in Libya. But he then repeated the Libyan leader's own line that outside forces are manipulating media coverage of protests.
"The US admitted that they have lost the race for information in Libya - this, and the way information is getting out, is problematic," he said. "Sometimes doubt creeps into one's head when seeing people speaking perfect English and hoisted up by a group of people made to look like a crowd. I wonder if they might be shots 'created' for journalists."
Mr Dalli's comments flatly contradict the position taken by Mr Barroso in a speech in Brussels two days ago.
"It is time for him [Gaddafi] to go and give the country back to the people of Libya," Mr Barroso said. "It is our duty to say to the Arab people that we are on their side."
A Dalli spokesman told this website that he had not seen the Friday morning quotes, but that anything Mr Dalli might have told local press in Malta is not necessarily his official view as an EU commissioner.
Read entire article
Gaddafi regime demands UN suspend sanctions
(Times of Malta