Gadaffi looks to Western ‘friends’ for solution

2011-03-26 10:10

Cairo/Tripoli – Muammar Gadaffi was in talks with Western “friends” to find a “dignified solution” to the conflict that was gripping Libya, the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported today.

The regional daily quoted official sources as saying the Libyan leader was relying on these unnamed figures to convince the international community to halt air strikes and find a negotiated solution.

The paper said Gadaffi’s son, Saif al-Islam, had left the country to work out an “urgent plan” to prevent a further deterioration of the political and military situation.

A high-level Libyan delegation headed by parliament speaker Muhammad Abul-Qasim Al-Zawi arrived in Tunisia earlier and was now heading to a secret destination for further talks, the paper added.

Meanwhile, the United States and other Western nations are considering supplying the Libyan rebels with weapons, according to The Washington Post.

Defying Gadaffi’s forces, the rebels have been receiving military training at a camp set up by the opposition National Council in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

A fierce battle continued overnight between the rebels and Gadaffi’s forces for control of the town of Ajdabiya, to the east of Benghazi. The fight for Ajdabiya and Libya’s third-largest city, Misurata, has been going on for days.

The continuing ground battles prompted the African Union yesterday to call for a transitional period that would lead to democratic elections in Libya.

The African Union and African states such as South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe have called for an end to coalition air strikes.

Meanwhile, Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance had “taken on the responsibility for the no-fly zone, while the coalition still continues its activities”.

Nato was expected to take command of the entire operation, including protecting civilians on the ground, in the coming days.

Since March 19, a US-led coalition that includes Britain and France has taken out Libyan air defences and ground forces in order to prevent attacks on civilians.

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