Tuesday 19 November 2019

Gaddafi's sons row over plans for ceasefire

Damien McElroy in London

A rift in the Gaddafi family has emerged as two hardline sons of the Libyan leader dismissed efforts to implement a ceasefire as part of a diplomatic initiative to end the Nato bombing campaign.

Mutassim Gaddafi, the national security adviser; and Khamis Gaddafi, the commander of an elite military brigade, have confronted supporters of a peace plan circulating in Tripoli's diplomatic circles.

Diplomats said another Gaddafi brother, Saif al-Islam, had offered to act as interim president to oversee a transition to a democratic system. His proposal was supported by Saadi, another brother with a role in the armed forces.

Mutassim, however, wants to ensure the regime cannot be beaten and has argued against Saif's proposals for a ceasefire. Mutassim reportedly said: "People get sick of dying, we have to keep fighting until we've beaten the opposition."

A family aide said: "It is not in the military interest of the government to have a ceasefire now. While we have the momentum, Mutassim wants to keep going."

Mutassim and Saif have been rivals for almost a decade. An American diplomatic cable said Saif's overseas reputation had made Mutassim jealous.


A Libyan official claimed the crisis gave Saif the opportunity to implement reforms that were blocked by his father's old guard. He said: "If they have the go-ahead, they will bring the country up quickly."

Meanwhile, Libya's opposition yesterday rejected attempts by the regime to kickstart diplomatic talks.

Col Gaddafi's acting foreign minister flew to Turkey with proposals that Tripoli has described as a road map to a ceasefire, but European diplomats have already dismissed his proposals as unacceptable.

"Gaddafi and his sons have to leave before any diplomatic negotiations can take place," Shamseddin Abdulmelah, a spokesman for the rebel Interim Transitional National Council. "How can you negotiate at the point of a gun?" (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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