Friday, April 29, 2011

Gaddafi: No one can force me to leave Libya

Defiant Libyan leader says he will not leave country and is prepared for a ceasefire only if all sides are involved.

(Al Jazeera) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said that he will not leave Libya and that he is still prepared to enter a ceasefire but only if all sides are involved.

Gaddafi gave a speech live on state television
early on Saturday morning [AFP]
"I'm not leaving my country," he said in a live address on state television in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"No one can force me to leave my country and no one can tell me not to fight for my country."
Gaddafi said that he was still ready to enter a ceasefire but that all sides must be involved and not only his own forces fighting against rebels in the east.

"[Libya] is ready until now to enter a ceasefire ... but a ceasefire cannot be from one side," he said in his live speech.

"We were the first to welcome a ceasefire and we were the first to accept a ceasefire ... but the crusader NATO attack has not stopped."

The Libyan leader also called for negotiations with NATO powers to end the air strikes on Libya.
"We did not attack them or cross the sea ... why are they attacking us? Let us negotiate with you, the countries that attack us. Let us negotiate."

Gaddafi added that if it was oil the coalition countries were after there was no problem in negotiating contracts.

If NATO powers were not interested in talks, however, the Libyan people would not surrender and were willing to die resisting what he called its "terrorist" attacks.

He warned NATO that its forces would die if it invaded by land.

"Either freedom or death. No surrender. No fear. No departure," he said.

Gaddafi said the NATO airstrikes and naval patrols went beyond the United Nations mandate and urged Russia, China and friendly African and Latin American countries to press the Security Council to take a fresh look at the resolution.

Conciliatory note

In a marked contrast to previous speeches, where he called the rebels "rats" and promised to track the down house by house, Gaddafi urged the rebels to lay down their weapons and said Libyans should not be fighting each other.

He blamed the rebellion on mercenaries and foreigners.

"We cannot fight each other," he said. "We are one family."

Gaddafi denied mass attacks on civilians and challenged NATO to find him 1,000 people who had been killed in the conflict.

"We did not attack them or cross the sea ... why are they attacking us?" asked Gaddafi, referring to European countries involved in the air strikes. "Let us negotiate with you, the countries that attack us. Let us negotiate."