'Libya is important partner for West in stopping Al Qaida'

Gaddafi says in interview that international media had created distorted image of violence in Libya over the past few weeks; former Libyan PM appeals to rebel leaders for dialogue.

Muammar Gaddafi 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Muammar Gaddafi 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Libya is an important partner for the West in containing Al Qaida and illegal migrants trying to reach Europe, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Monday.
Gaddafi, in an interview with France 24 television station, also said the international media had created a distorted image of the violence in Libya over the past few weeks.
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Earlier on Monday, a leading member of Libya's ruling establishment appealed to rebel leaders for dialogue, in the clearest sign yet that Gaddafi may be ready to compromise with opponents challenging his rule.
Jadallah Azous Al-Talhi, a Libyan prime minister in the 1980s who is originally from eastern Libya, appeared on state television reading an address to elders in Benghazi, the main base of the anti-Gaddafi rebels.
He asked them to "give a chance to national dialogue to resolve this crisis, to help stop the bloodshed, and not give a chance to foreigners to come and capture our country again."
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
The appeal did not detail any concessions that Gaddafi's administration would be prepared to make. The rebels have said they will settle for nothing less than an end to Gaddafi's four decades in power.
Asked about the address, rebel official Ahmed Jabreel told Reuters: "Talhi is a close acquaintance of mine and he is widely respected in Libya as a man who stood up to Gaddafi. But we have made it clear all along that any negotiations must be on the basis that Gaddafi will step down. There can be no other compromise."
The fact that Al-Talhi's appeal was broadcast on tightly-controlled state television indicated that it was officially endorsed.
Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday that Gaddafi said he would be willing to leave his country if his and his family's safety was guaranteed. He reportedly sent a representative to Bengazi to negotiate the terms of his resignation.