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Top rebel rejects reported Kadafi offer to negotiate

A spokesman for Libya's ousted leader apparently sought talks on a transfer of power. Rebels offer only 'safety and a fair trial.'

August 28, 2011|By Borzou Daragahi | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Libyans queue up for bread in Tripoli. Supplies of electricity, water and gas are also running low.
Libyans queue up for bread in Tripoli. Supplies of electricity, water and… (Hannibal Hanschke, EPA )

Reporting from Tripoli — A top-ranking rebel government official Sunday dismissed a supposed offer by Moammar Kadafi to negotiate a transition, insisting that the country's long-time ruler should turn himself in.

The Associated Press reported that Musa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Kadafi's all but toppled government, had called its New York office to offer talks on a "transfer of power," saying the leader's son Saadi would conduct the negotiations. He said Kadafi remained in Libya but did not specify where.

A top official of the National Transitional Council rejected the offer. "We have no negotiations with Kadafi and we can offer him only two things: safety and a fair trial," said Ahmad Darrat, said to be incoming interior minister of the provisional government now taking the reins of power in Libya.

Kadafi was driven from his base of power last week in a lightning offensive by lightly armed rebels storming the capital from several directions. The city now suffers power, water and food shortages, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in the capital and the country's rebel-controlled Nafusa Mountains region.

Rebels appear to have squelched the last pockets of armed Kadafi loyalists in the capital but are not about to mount an offensive against the Kadafi stronghold of Surt after negotiations to persuade the city surrender appear to have gone nowhere.

The opposition government, still based in eastern Libya, is struggling to take control of the country after the victory of rebel fighters from the country's west. The transitional government's satellite television station Ahrar, based in Qatar, took over the satellite slots from Libyan state television.

Special correspondent Ryma Marrouch contributed to this report.

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