NATO rejects Qadhafi’s call for talks to end Libyan conflict
AFP BRUSSELS NATO has rejected strongman Moamar Qadhafi’s offer of talks to end the conflict in Libya and wants to see “not words but actions” to stop attacks on civilians, an alliance official told AFP.
“We need to see not words but actions,” the official said, after Qadhafi earlier on Saturday offered to hold talks with France and the United States, even as his forces pressed their offensive against the key rebel-held port city of Misrata.
“(UN Resolution) 1973 explicitly calls for an end to attacks on and abuses of civilians.
The regime has announced ceasefires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians,” the official said.
The official noted that earlier on Saturday Qadhafi’s forces had “indiscriminately shelled Misrata, killing many people, including children” and tried to mine the port to block the access of humanitarian aid.
“All this has to stop, and it has to stop now,” the official said.
“Any ceasefire or peaceful solution must be credible and verifiable.
And it must pave the way for a solution which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people for political reforms,” the official added.
The official noted that NATO foreign ministers in a statement earlier this month said the alliance will continue its operations in Libya “until all attacks and threats against civilians have ceased; until all of Qadhafi’s forces, including his snipers, mercenaries and paramilitary forces have returned to bases; and until there is full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance.
“We will continue to keep up the pressure until the UN mandate is fulfilled.” Earlier, in an early-morning speech on state television, the Libyan leader said NATO “must abandon all hope of his departure.
“I have no official functions to give up: I will not leave my country and will fight to the death,” he said, but also added a conciliatory note.
“We are ready to talk with France and the United States, but with no preconditions,” Qadhafi said.
“We will not surrender, but I call on you to negotiate.
If you want petrol, we will sign contracts with your companies — it is not worth going to war over.
“Between Libyans, we can solve our problems without being attacked, so pull back your fleets and your planes,” he told NATO.
Qadhafi said the rebels battling his forces “are terrorists who are not from Libya, but from Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Afghanistan.” He also insisted his people love him, that he is like a father to them — “more sacred than the emperor of Japan is to his people.” His call for talks was dismissed by the opposition Transitional National Council, which has shaped itself into a parallel government in the eastern city of Benghazi.