Tripoli, Libya A senior Libyan official said Monday that progress has been made in talks with rebels on ending more than four months of fighting, but a top rebel leader denied that any negotiations are taking place.
The rebel leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, also distanced himself from earlier comments attributed to him that Libya’s opposition might consider allowing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to stay in the country as part of a transition deal, provided he resigns and orders a cease-fire.
“The Libyans do not want Gadhafi to stay even if he’s dead ... after what he’s done while in power and during the revolt against him,” Abdul-Jalil said Monday.
In the Gadhafi-controlled capital of Tripoli, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told reporters that talks with various rebel officials have been going on for two months.
He said the negotiations have included some members of a transitional council based in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, though he acknowledged that “of course there are elements within the rebellion who are not in favor in talks.”
The aim of the discussions, taking place outside Libya and over the phone, is to halt hostilities and set a framework for further dialogue, he said.
Asked if progress has been made, he said: “In some areas, yes, of course.”