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|Posted by Reunionblackfamily. on July 10, 2011 at 10:25 PM|
TRIPOLI, July 10- A French minister said on Sunday it was time for Libya's rebels to negotiate with Muammar Gaddafi's government,
The messages from two leading members of the Western coalition opposing Gaddafi hinted at the strain the alliance is under after more than three months of air strikes that have cost billions of dollars and failed to produce the swift outcome its backers had expected.
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet signalled growing impatience with the progress of the conflict when he said the rebels should negotiate now with Gaddafi's government and not wait for his defeat.
"We have .... have asked them to speak to each other," Longuet, whose government has until now been among the most hawkish on Libya, said on French television station BFM TV.
We ... are delighted to say that in Malabo, the summit of the African Union delivered a public statement which is closer (to) the position of France and the coalition than before," Alain Juppe told reporters in Addis Ababa.
"We agreed that we must now find a political outcome to the situation in Libya and this solution implies a genuine ceasefire and also an inclusive national dialogue between all the parties," Juppe said
Juppe spoke to the press in English, after meeting in Addis Ababa with the deputy chairperson of the AU Commission Erastus Mwencha and the commissioner for peace and security Ramtane Lamamra.
"The position of the TNC (rebel Transitional National Council) is very far from other positions. Now, there will be a need to sit around a table," he said."
Gaddafi has been defiantly holding on to power in the face of rebel attacks trying to break his 41-year rule, NATO air strikes, economic sanctions and the defections of prominent members of his government.
With no imminent end to the conflict in sight, cracks are emerging inside the NATO alliance. Some member states are balking at the burden on their recession-hit finances, and many are frustrated that there has been no decisive breakthrough
Gaddafi's forces launched a heavy artillery bombardment to try to push back rebel fighters who last week seized the village of Al-Qawalish, 100 km (60 miles) south of Tripoli.
Al-Qawalish is a strategic battleground because if the rebels manage to advance beyond it they will reach the main highway leading north into the capital Tripoli.
NATO launched its bombing campaign in March after the U.N. Security Council authorised the use of all necessary means to protect civilians who rose up against Gaddafi.
Gaddafi says the rebels are armed criminals and al Qaeda militants. He has called the NATO operation an act of colonial aggression aimed at stealing Libyan oil.
Gaddafi gov't in talks with France
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader, said his father's administration was in talks with the French government, according to an interview published on Today in an Algerian newspaper.
"The truth is that we are negotiating with France and not with the rebels," the El Khabar newspaper quoted Saif al-Islam as saying in an interview in Tripoli.
"Our envoy to (Nicolas) Sarkozy said that the French president was very clear and told him 'We created the (rebel) council, and without our support, and money, and our weapons, the council would have never existed'," it quoted Saif al-Islam as saying.