February 23, 2011 / 8:30 PM / 9 years ago

Gaddafi's son says father has role in new order-FT

LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will play a major role in any regime formed in the country but new blood will need to take over direct control and introduce reform, his son told the Financial Times on Wednesday. “My father would stay as the big father who advises,” Saadi Gaddafi told the Financial Times by telephone from Tripoli, adding that up to 85 percent of Libya was “very calm and very safe”.

Demonstrations broke out a week ago, with much of the east of the country now under the control of protesters.

Saadi Gaddafi, who was once a professional soccer player in Italy, told the FT the leadership would recover the eastern part of the country “sooner or later”.

“Yes, there are people protesting against my father’s rule. It is normal. Everybody needs to be free to express their opinion,” he said in an interview published on the paper’s website.

“After this positive earthquake, we have to do something for Libya. We have to bring in new blood to govern our country.”

He said his brother Saif al-Islam was working on a new constitution and would make an announcement soon, although he gave no details, the FT said.

As many as 1,000 people have been killed since the uprising started and Saadi Gaddafi said ships and planes had been used to bomb ammunition depots near the eastern city of Benghazi but said these were not located near populated areas.

He said that destroying the weapons would prevent them falling into the wrong hands, saying there were “thousands” of al Qaeda militants in the country who were attempting to take control of the eastern region.

He also said the army would be sent to guard Libya’s hydrocarbons industry if necessary.

“The army is still very strong,” he said. “If we hear anything, we will send some battalions. When people see the army, they will be afraid.”

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