Gaddafi refuses to quit, calls for talks on conflict

Libyan rebels drive a self-customised armoured vehicle as they secure an area close to the front line in Al-Ghiran, near Misrata airport, on Friday (AFP)

Moamer Gaddafi said he will not quit power and called for negotiations with the United States and France to end the Libyan conflict, in a speech aired on television early on Saturday.

Nato "must abandon all hope of the departure of Moamer Gaddafi. I have no official functions to give up: I will not leave my country and will fight to the death," he said in a speech marking the centenary of a battle against Italian occupation forces.

"We are ready to talk with France and the United States, but with no preconditions," he 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," Gaddafi said. "Between Libyans, we can solve our problems without being attacked, so pull back your fleets and your planes," the veteran strongman said, addressing Nato directly.

He said that the rebels battling his forces "are terrorists who are not from Libya, but from Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Afghanistan," he said, adding that his people love him.

"I am sacred to the Libyan people, I am a symbol and a father to them... more sacred than the emperor of Japan is to his people," Gaddafi said.  


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