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Gadhafi revives offer of vote to end war

Updated: 2011-06-27 08:22

(China Daily)

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TRIPOLI, Libya - The Libyan government on Sunday renewed its offer to hold a vote on whether Muammar Gadhafi should stay in power, a proposal unlikely to interest Gadhafi's opponents but which could widen differences inside NATO.

Pressure is growing from some quarters within the alliance to find a political solution, three months into a military campaign which is costing NATO members billions of dollars, has killed civilians, and has so far failed to topple Gadhafi. Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Gadhafi's administration, told reporters in Tripoli the government was proposing a period of national dialogue and an election overseen by the United Nations and the African Union.

"If the Libyan people decide Gadhafi should leave he will leave. If the people decide he should stay he will stay," Ibrahim said.

But he said Gadhafi would not go into exile whatever happened. "Gadhafi is not leaving anywhere, he is staying in this country," Ibrahim said.

NATO said on Saturday its missiles had hit a site used by Gadhafi's forces to stockpile military supplies and vehicles, while Libyan state media said 15 civilians had been killed.

The attack late on Friday was the second within hours on what NATO said were clearly identified military targets in the coastal city of Brega, around 200 km west of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Libyan state television said a local bakery and a restaurant had been hit, wounding 20 people in addition to the 15 dead. State news agency Jana said a strike in the same area earlier on Friday had killed five civilians.

"We have no indications of any civilian casualties in connection to these strikes," a NATO official said.

"What we know is that the buildings we hit were occupied and used by pro-Gadhafi forces to direct attacks against civilians around Ajdabiya," the official said. Ajdabiya is rebel-held.

"Unlike the pro-Gadhafi forces, we go to great lengths to reduce the possibility of any civilian casualties."


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