Son of Libya's Gaddafi tells West: "You cannot win"


  • World
  • Monday, 04 Jul 2011

PARIS (Reuters) - Western powers are doomed to lose their military campaign to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, one of his son's said in an interview with French television, and their air strikes against government forces had made them "legitimate targets".

Saif al-Islam told the private French television station TF1 that his father had no intention of leaving the country as part of negotiations to end the conflict with rebels wanting an end to his four-decade rule.

Asked if he had a message for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the driving forces behind the Western intervention in Libya, Saif said:

"You are not going to win. You have no chance, zero chance, to win the war here," he told TF1.

"If you are angry with us because we are not buying the Rafale airplanes, you should talk with us," he said, a reference to the Dassault-built French warplane that Paris had been trying to sell to Tripoli before the uprising against Gaddafi.

"If you are angry with us because oil deals are not going well, you should talk to us. Rebels will not give you anything because they are not going to win," Saif said.

The Libyan leader's son, like his father subject of an international arrest warrant on charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the deaths of civilians demanding Gaddafi's ouster, said the Libyan authorities were prepared to make concessions to some western demands but would fight for their country.

"You want democracy, we are ready. You want elections, we are ready. You want, what, a new constitution? We are ready. Ceasefire? We are ready. But, the other side is refusing, all the time," he said.

"But to tell my father to leave the country, it's a joke. We will never surrender. We will fight. It's our country."

"We have to fight for our country and you are going to be legitimate targets for us," he added.

In a telephone address relayed to tens of thousands of supporters in Tripoli's Green Square on Friday, Gaddafi urged NATO to halt its bombing campaign or risk seeing Libyan fighters descend on Europe "like a swarm of locusts or bees".

(Writing by Jon Boyle)

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