UPDATE 1-Libyan rebels will only discuss Gaddafi quitting

Mon Mar 7, 2011 11:57am GMT

* Rebel council says will only talk about Gaddafi departure

* Comment responds to call for dialogue by ex-premier

(Updates with colour from Benghazi, comment from Tobruk)

BENGHAZI, Libya, March 7 (Reuters) - The rebel National Libyan Council said on Monday there was no room for broad dialogue with the government of Muammar Gaddafi and any talks must be on the basis that he quits.

The council, which speaks for mostly eastern areas controlled by opponents of Gaddafi, made clear its position after state television, tightly controlled by the Libyan leader, broadcast an address calling for talks.

Jadallah Azous Al-Talhi, a prime minister in the 1980s who is originally from eastern Libya, appeared on state television calling on elders in the rebel city of Benghazi for national dialogue to end the bloodshed.

Asked about the address, rebel official Ahmed Jabreel told Reuters: "Talhi is a close acquaintance of mine and he is widely respected in Libya as a man who stood up to Gaddafi.

"But we have made it clear all along that any negotiations must be on the basis that Gaddafi will step down. There can be no other compromise."

The fact that state television screened Talhi's appeal indicated that it was officially endorsed.   Continued...

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