News / Africa

Rebel Chief: Gadhafi, Family Can Remain in Libya

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The head of Libya's opposition movement says leader Moammar Gadhafi and his family may stay in the country as long as they give up power and rebel leaders determine where and under what conditions they remain.

In an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal Sunday, Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Gadhafi's ability to stay in Libya "will have conditions." He said opposition forces "will decide where he stays and who watches him," and that the same restrictions will apply to his family.

Jalil's comments appeared to soften his position, and echo recent statements by French, U.S. and Italian officials. The rebel leader made similar remarks earlier this month, but had to issue a quick denial after protests erupted in the opposition's eastern stronghold, Benghazi.

Jalil spoke to the Journal Sunday during his first visit to the rebel-held western mountains region since he was chosen to lead the Transitional National Council in February.

In the interview, Jalil also said Qatar has sent military personnel to the western mountains to train rebel fighters and build an operational command center. The Journal quoted Qatari representatives accompanying Jalil (to the western city of Zintan) as saying the Gulf nation recently increased the quantity and improved the type of military aid it is sending to the rebels.

Earlier Sunday, Germany said it is offering loans of up to $144 million to the rebel council to help with humanitarian needs and rebuilding.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said his country is granting the loans because the Gadhafi's frozen assets cannot be released to the opposition at this time. He said the loans will provide a way to help the rebel council build up "necessary structures" and overcome a shortage of supplies.

The offer follows a meeting this month in Turkey, where more than 30 nations announced their support for the council.

NATO carried out more airstrikes in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. Witnesses say there was at least one explosion near a residence of Gadhafi early Sunday. There were no reports of casualties.

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