Tripoli mulls talks with rebels without Gathafi
PARIS - Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi will not take part in proposed talks between the embattled regime and rebels, Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi said in an interview published Tuesday.
"The Guide will not take part in these discussions. Everything must be open," he told France's Le Figaro newspaper, referring to Gathafi.
"We are ready to negotiate unconditionally," he said, adding it was not for him to say "in which room... the Guide will find himself".
The comments came a day after French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet suggested that Gathafi could remain in Tripoli "in another room in his palace" and NATO could stop its bombing campaign while talks began.
But the prime minister said a halt to the bombing was a pre-condition for any dialogue.
"We simply want a stop to the bombardments so that one can talk in a serene atmosphere," he said. "We cannot talk as bombs rain down."
The prime minister on Saturday denounced the air strikes launched by the NATO-led alliance in comments to an envoy of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
"These raids, which have caused human victims must be considered as crimes against humanity and an act of genocide," he said.
The UN Security Council passed two resolutions on Libya in February and March. The first imposed strict sanctions on Gathafi's regime, including an arms embargo, and called for measures to protect civilians.
The second, approved as Gathafi's forces closed on rebel-held Benghazi, authorised the use of force against pro-Gathafi forces, which paved the way for the current wave of NATO-coordinated air strikes.