Gaddafi representatives in talks with France

July 11th, 2011 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Tripoli, July 11 (IANS/AKI) Representatives of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are conducting negotiations with France and not with the rebels seeking his ouster, according to Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam.

“The truth is that we are negotiating with France and not with the rebels,” Saif told Algerian El Khabar newspaper.

France is one of a number of countries to have recognised the opposition rebel National Transitional Council as Libya’s legitimate leaders.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also played a major role in international efforts to conduct military missions against forces loyal to Gaddafi.

“Our envoy to (Nicolas) Sarkozy said that the French president was very clear and told him ‘We created the (rebel) council, and without our support, and money, and our weapons, the council would have never existed’,” Saif said.

There were no comments from the French government.

The rebel council has said it will take part in talks with the Libyan government only after Gaddafi steps down from power.

Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces since February.

An international military operation in Libya began March 19, following a UN resolution authorising countries “to take all necessary measures” to help protect civilians from attacks by Gaddafi forces, and was extended until late September.

–IANS/AKI
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