UPDATE 1-Libyan foreign minister says it's over for Gaddafi

Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:18pm GMT

(Adds more quotes, details)

LONDON Aug 24 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi's foreign minister was quoted on Wednesday as saying Libya's civil war was virtually over and urged Gaddafi loyalists to stop fighting.

Asked in an interview with Britain's Channel 4 News if the conflict was finished, Abdelati Obeidi said: "Yes, this is my feeling."

"If I am in charge, I would tell them to lay down their arms," he said, referring to fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

Asked if he knew where Gaddafi was, he said: "No. No. No."

Obeidi was talking via telephone from a house in Tripoli, Channel 4 said.

He said he was not in touch with many other government ministers but did not fear for his safety and hinted he might be able to play some role in the future of Libya. He did not indicate whether he had quit his role in government.

"They (the rebels) have a good idea about me, they know me," he said. "I am sure they will not harm me or my family. On the contrary, I feel when things are quiet we can speak to each other."

Last month, Obeidi visited Moscow seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict which would involve all Libyans . On Wednesday, he said a negotiated settlement was highly unlikely.

"It looks that, you know, things have passed this kind of solution," he said.

"What I am worried about is law and order and the stability of the people. I hope those people (rebels) are all Libyans and they are not foreign - they are not occupiers - and people in our country try to mend these injuries and go over this crisis and start their responsibilities. They are responsible for the country." (Reporting by Matt Falloon; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

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