Last Updated: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:44 am (KSA) 07:44 am (GMT)

Saadi Qaddafi tells Al Arabiya his father is ready to relinquish power

Saadi Qaddafi, one of the Libyan leader's sons, said his father is willing to hand over power to the National Transitional Council.
Saadi Qaddafi, one of the Libyan leader's sons, said his father is willing to hand over power to the National Transitional Council.

Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saadi told Al Arabiya TV that his father has no objection to handing power over to the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) and called for talks and a truce to end the bloodshed.

“As far as I am concerned, I will not carry guns against any Libyan person, and I urge the warring parties to lay down their weapons,” Saadi told Al Arabiya in telephone call from an undisclosed location in Libya.

“If surrendering myself will end the bloodshed, I am ready to do so, but I do not represent only myself, and in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis we should sit down with each other and negotiate,” he said.

Saadi said he had contacted a commander of the NTC in Tripoli with authorization from his father as part of efforts to stop the bloodshed in the country.

“We were talking about negotiations based on ending bloodshed,” Saadi said, referring to his telephone call with Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the chief of anti-Qaddafi forces in Tripoli; Qaddafi’s son added he was officially empowered to negotiate with the NTC.

“We acknowledge that they (the NTC) represent a legal party, but we are also the government and a legal negotiating party,” he said.

Meanwhile, another of the elder Qaddafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam, vowed in a separate statement broadcast on an Arab TV channels that his family would fight to the death and said nobody would surrender. He also said he was speaking from the suburbs outside of Tripoli and insisted his father is fine.

“We are coming soon to liberate the green square,” he said. He also said there were 20,000 armed young men in the Mediterranean city of Sirte ready to repel the rebels preparing to take the city if Qaddafi loyalists do not surrender.

An NTC leader and former Libyan foreign minister, Abdel Rahman Shalqam, told Al Arabiya that the nearly instantaneous media appearance of two of Qaddafi’s sons shows “desperation” for a solution that would give them protection against prosecution.

Shalqam said courts will begin trials of former regime figures in Benghazi and Tripoli within days, adding that the priority has been given to restoring order and the rule of law.

Libyan rebels on Wednesday arrested Foreign Minister Abdelati al-Obeidi, a key figure of Colonel Qaddafi’s regime, a senior rebel commander said.

“Yes, Abdelati al-Obeidi was arrested today,” Mahdi al-Harati, vice chairman of the rebel military council, told journalists in the capital, without providing further details.

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