Cairo/Tripoli, Feb 26 (DPA) A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi offered to withhold attacks on regime opponents Saturday and negotiate.
In remarks delivered late Friday, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also denied that mercenaries have taken part in attacking protesters after witnesses said mercenaries from Chad, Mali and other African countries have been involved in attacks on protesters who are calling for Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster.
“We are dealing with terrorists,” the son said. “The army decided not to attack the terrorists and give them an opportunity for negotiation. We hope to do this in a peaceful way, and we will do so by tomorrow.”
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also vowed that the state would regain control over eastern cities. Witnesses said protesters are now in control of most of the eastern cities, including Benghazi, the second-largest city after the capital, Tripoli.
“We are assured that the state will regain control over eastern cities of the country,” he said.
Muammar Gaddafi and his family insisted that Libya’s uprising was instigated by Al Qaeda terrorist agents and Islamic fundamentalists and vowed to kill opponents of the regime. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday estimated the number of deaths at 1,000.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said residents from Benghazi and other cities are complaining their living conditions have deteriorated.
“Girls were prevented from going down the street, schools are closed and life is at standstill because of what they described as Islamists seizing control of the place there by force,” he claimed.
Peaceful anti-government protesters in Tripoli came under fire Friday as Muammar Gaddafi surfaced in the capital, urging supporters to kill those against him.
The violence has caused growing numbers of refugees and displaced people. Ban said Friday that 22,000 people had fled to Tunisia and 15,000 to Egypt. Governments have also ordered their citizens out of Libya and dispatched planes and ships to help them evacuate.
Muammar Gaddafi remained defiant even as the international community prepared tougher measures against his regime with the US enacting unilateral sanctions and the UN preparing to discuss its own measures Saturday.
In separate remarks Friday, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appealed to the European community to send an international fact-finding mission to Libya to disprove media reports about atrocities.
“We are not afraid of facts,” he said in remarks broadcast by Al Jazeera. We are worried about rumours and lies because the facts are on our side.”