July 1, 2011 / 10:56 AM / 9 years ago

Gaddafi's daughter acknowledges talks with Libya rebels

PARIS (Reuters) - Libya is involved in direct and indirect talks with rebels trying to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader’s daughter said, although the Benghazi-based opposition has ruled out further contact with Tripoli.

Aisha Gaddafi also told French television in an interview aired on Thursday that her father — who is subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court — was a guide for the Libyan people and had no reason to leave the country.

“There are direct and indirect negotiations and we should stop letting Libyan blood,” she said, speaking through an interpreter in a Tripoli hotel.

“And for that we are ready to ally with the devil and that is the armed rebels,” the 35-year-old lawyer told France 2 television. It was unclear when the interview was filmed.

The rebels said last week there had been contact with Gaddafi’s government. However, the ICC’s issue of arrest warrants on Monday for the leader and his son Saif al-Islam had closed the door for talks, rebel spokesman Mahmoud Shammam said on Wednesday.

More than 90 days into a NATO bombing campaign, the Libyan leader is refusing to relinquish power after 41 years, leaving Western and Arab states counting on a combination of rebel advances on Tripoli and any uprising in the capital to dislodge him.

Aisha Gaddafi played down suggestions that her father might go. “This word departure, departure, departure ... what I find strange is where do you want him to go? This is his country, his land, his people,” she said.

“Where would he go? There is something you don’t understand and you will never understand. My father is a symbol, a guide.”

Gaddafi’s daughter said one of her children and a brother had been killed by the NATO-led bombardment, and attacked French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who faces a presidential election next year.

France confirmed on Wednesday that it had air-dropped arms to rebels in Libya’s Western Mountains, becoming the first NATO country to acknowledge arming the insurgency against Gaddafi.

“I send a message to the mothers and wives of (French) pilots that are bombarding us,” she said. “Your husbands are not protecting civilians, but killing children and our people to satisfy Sarkozy who thinks the more Libyans he kills the more votes he’ll get in elections.”

Reporting by John Irish; editing by David Stamp

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