CAIRO, March 7 Two Arab newspapers and al
Jazeera television said on Monday Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
was looking for an agreement allowing him to step down, but
there was no official confirmation of the reports.
Al Jazeera said Gaddafi had proposed to Libyan rebels to
hold a meeting of parliament to pave the way for him to step
down with certain guarantees.
It said Gaddafi made the proposal to the interim council,
which speaks for mostly eastern areas controlled by his
opponents. It quoted sources in the council as saying Gaddafi
wanted guarantees of personal safety for him and his family and
a pledge that they not be put on trial.
Al Jazeera said sources from the council told its
correspondent in Benghazi that the offer was rejected because
it would have amounted to an "honourable" exit for Gaddafi and
would offend his victims.
The London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat and the daily
al-Bayan, based in the United Arab Emirates, also cited unnamed
sources as saying Gaddafi was looking for an agreement.
A source close to the council told Reuters he had heard that
"one formula being proposed by the other side would see Gaddafi
hand power to the head of parliament and leave the country with
a certain guaranteed sum of money."
"I was told that this issue of money is a serious obstacle
from the national council's point of view," he said, adding that
his information came from a single source close to the council.
Essam Gheriani, a media officer for the council, said: "No
such offer has been been put to the council as far as I am
APPEAL FOR DIALOGUE
Jadallah Azous Al-Talhi, a leading member of the ruling
establishment and a prime minister in the 1980s, appealed to
rebel leaders for dialogue on Monday, in the clearest sign yet
Gaddafi may be ready to compromise with opponents challenging
his four-decade rule.
The fact that state television screened Talhi's appeal
indicated that it was officially endorsed.
But the council said there was no room for broad dialogue
with Gaddafi and any talks must be on the basis that he quits.
Asked about Talhi's 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."
Asharq al-Awsat, citing "informed Libyan sources" in
Benghazi, said Gaddafi sent a negotiator to the rebel council
with an offer to step down provided he had guarantees for his
personal safety and that of his family as well as his money.
Al Bayan quoted a source close to Gaddafi's inner circle as
saying the Libyan leader had begun looking for a safe haven
"He has begun making contacts with African and Arab states
in search for a safe haven that will allow him to leave Libya in
a way that suits his position and would not infringe on his
dignity," it quoted the source as saying.
The source said that "great divisions" within the Libyan
army had caused Gaddafi to lose control of large parts of the
country to rebels, according to an advance copy of the article.
One of Gaddafi's sons, Saadi, said Libya would descend into
civil war if his father stepped down, Al Arabiya television
reported on Monday.
"The situation is very dangerous. From the perspective of a
civil war, the leader must play a very, very big role in calming
Libya and convincing people to sit together," Saadi Gaddafi said
in an interview with the Arabic satellite channel.
"If something happened to the leader, who would be in
control? A civil war would start," he added.
(Reporting by Tom Pfeiffer in Benghazi, Edmund Blair in Cairo
and Sami Aboudi in Dubai; writing by Myra MacDonald; editing by