Libyan port rebels say ready to talk to government if Tripoli cancels army offensive

TRIPOLI, March 15 Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:08pm EDT

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TRIPOLI, March 15 (Reuters) - Libyan rebels who have seized three oil export ports said on Saturday they were ready to negotiate with the government over an end to their blockade if it abandoned plans for a military offensive.

Abb-Rabbo al-Barassi, the eastern autonomy movement's self-apointed "prime minister", told Reuters by phone that talks could not start unless the central government withdrew any troops it had sent to central Libya to confront them.

He also said a tanker that had loaded oil last week at one of the rebel-held ports had reached its destination, though he declined to say where that was. He said more ships were expected at the seized ports. (Reporting by Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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