Libyan leader calls for cease-fire negotiations with NATO

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Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday urged NATO to negotiate an end to airstrikes, accusing the international coalition of killing civilians and destroying the nation’s infrastructure in a bid to take over its oil production.

“Come and negotiate with us. You are the ones attacking us. You are the ones terrifying our kids and destroying our infrastructure. You American, French and British come and negotiate with us,” Gadhafi said during a rambling 45-minute address on Libyan state TV.

It was a rare appearance for the leader, who has not been seen in public since international forces began bombing regime targets last month. The airstrikes started after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution authorizing any means necessary to protect civilians demanding the ouster of the ruler, who has been in power for nearly 42 years.

At times, Gadhafi’s address appeared to be a tirade against NATO and the United Nations.

“What are you trying to do? Trying to take the oil?” he said. “The Libyan people will not allow you … The oil is under control of the Libyan government and for the people.”

He called on the United Nations to review the NATO attacks, saying his country agreed to a cease-fire.

“We are the first ones who wanted and agreed on a cease-fire. But the NATO crusader airstrike did not cease,” he said. “It cannot be a cease-fire from one side.”

A NATO spokeswoman called for actions, not words shortly after Gadhafi’s address.

“The regime has announced ceasefires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians,” NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero said in a statement.

“Just hours before colonel Qhadafi spoke of a truce, his forces indiscriminately shelled Misrata, killing many people, including children. His forces tried to mine the port to block the access of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered civilians of Misrata. All this has to stop, and it has to stop now.”

 

Categories: MIDDLE EAST

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