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LIBYA: Son of embattled Moammar Kadafi says regime expects ceasefire soon

February 25, 2011 |  2:41 pm

Foreign journalists in Tripoli under official escort by the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi were told by his son that the besieged government was hoping for a ceasefire with rebels holding key coastal cities,  Reuters news agency reported.

Seif Islam Kadafi told the small group flown in Friday that the government had been exercising restraint with opposition forces in western Libya and "hoped that a negotiated ceasefire could be in place by Saturday," the news agency reported.

The younger Kadafi, one of the Libyan strongman's seven sons, told the visiting reporters that those rebelling against the Kadafi leadership wouldn't be harmed if they surrendered and engaged in negotiations on needed reforms.

The son downplayed reports of widespread violence in the country and mocked the images being broadcast to the outside world from the unrest that has gripped the country for more than a week.

"We are laughing at these reports," Kadafi's son said, according to Reuters. "Apart from Misurata and Zawiya, everything is calm."

He said negotiations were under way and that the leadership was "optimistic."

"In Misurata, in Zawiya, we have a problem. We are dealing with terrorists. But hopefully they are running out of ammunition. Hopefully there will be no more bloodshed," Reuters quoted him as saying. "By tomorrow we will solve this. The army decided not to attack the terrorists, and to give a chance to negotiation. Hopefully we will do it peacefully and will do so by tomorrow."

The dispatch from Tripoli provided few details of what was expected to be a carefully orchestrated visit inside the besieged seat of Kadafi's power. The State Department had said a day earlier that the delegation was to include journalists from CNN, BBC Arabic and Al Arabiya news network.

Earlier Friday, CNNTurk reported defiant comments by the Kadafi son, vowing that he and his family would put down the insurrection and "live and die in Libya."

--Carol J. Williams

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