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--Conflicting reports about negotiations on Gaddafi's exit--Gaddafi reportedly offers to step down in exchange for immunity--battles still raging between loyalists and rebels--Western powers view no-fly zone on Libya as fighting goes on.

--Conflicting Reports About Negotiations On Gaddafi's Exit

--Gaddafi Reportedly Offers to Step Down In Exchange For Immunity

--Battles Still Raging between Loyalists and Rebels

--Western Powers View No-Fly Zone on Libya as Fighting Goes On

Conflicting reports came out from Libya Tuesday about the possibility of negotiations between Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and his rebels seeking an end to his 41-year- rule. The Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV network said that Gaddafi had sent an envoy to open negotiations with the rebels to end the civil war. Officials from the council, which is based in the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi, did not confirm any Gaddafi proposal on Monday, but on Tuesday a spokesman confirmed it was made. "I confirm that we received contact from a Gaddafi representative seeking to negotiate Gaddafi's exit," a media officer for the council, Mustafa Gheriani, told Reuters. "We rejected this. We are not negotiating with someone who spilt Libyan blood and continues to do so. Why would we trust the guy today?" he added.

The embattled Libyan leader reportedly offered to step down in exchange for immunity, but the rebels insist Gaddafi must step down and leave the country. Although it was unclear whether the issue of immunity for the man was raised, the head of the rebels' provisional national council told AFP they would not pursue criminal charges if Gaddafi quits. Asked about a Gaddafi representative making an offer of talks, former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil and council chairman said Gaddafi had not sent anyone himself, but that activist lawyers from Tripoli had volunteered as go-betweens. "He didn't send anyone. People put themselves forth as intermediaries to stop the flow of blood and to end what the people in (Libya's third city of) Misrata are being subjected to," Jalil told AFP.

Jalil told Al Arabiya television by telephone: "Now the first demand is that he announces his departure, and only after that perhaps Libyans will stop pursuing him for crimes. There are indirect contacts with the Americans at the presidential level," he added, without giving details. Al Jazeera also cited Jalil as saying that there was "no chance for Gaddafi's rule over Libya to continue." The TV station quoted an Al Jazeera correspondent saying there were talks about mediation by a foreign state to secure a safe exit for Gaddafi.
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Publication:The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:6LIBY
Date:Mar 9, 2011
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