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Africa
Chavez Libya talks offer rejected
United States, France and opposition activists dismiss Venezuelan proposal to form a commission to mediate crisis.
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 23:36 GMT
Amr Moussa, the Arab League's secretary-general, has said that the League is studying the proposal [EPA]

The United States and France have brushed aside Venezuela's proposal for mediation to end the violence in Libya.

PJ Crowley, the US State Department's spokesman, instead repeated US calls for Muammar Gaddafi to step down from power in the face of the three-week-old uprising that he has tried to crush with his security forces.

"You don't need an international commission to tell Colonel Gaddafi what he needs to do for the good of his country and the good of his people," Crowley told reporters on Thursday when asked about the Venezuelan proposal.

France also rejected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s offer and dismissed talk of any solution that would allow the embattled leader to stay in power.

"Any mediation that allows Colonel Gaddafi to succeed himself is obviously not welcome," Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said after talks with his British counterpart William Hague.

Read more of our Libya coverage

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the opposition National Libyan Council, told Al Jazeera he totally rejected the concept of talks with Gaddafi, and said that no one contacted him regarding the Venezuelan initiative.

Reporting from the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, in Libya's east, Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid said anti-Gaddafi activists there were unlikely to look favourably upon any kind of mediation.

"All along they have been saying that the only mediation they will consider is to find an exit strategy for Gaddafi and his family and all his close aides," she said.

"They said there is no time anymore for dialogue, there is no way that they will do any kind of settlement. They say there is a complete lack of trust at the moment. Mediation, unless it's with an exit strategy, will be quite difficult."

Chavez, an ally of Gaddafi, has proposed creating an international peace mission with forces from friendly nations to try to mediate the unrest gripping Libya.

The Arab League said it is "studying" the Venezuelan mediation proposal.

'Solution from south'

Chavez is Gaddafi's main ally in Latin America. Both leaders regularly make public condemnations of US "imperialism" and have exchanged visits in recent years. He has said it would be hypocritical of him to join international condemnation of Gaddafi.

Chavez said on Monday he had discussed the idea of an international mediation effort with several Latin American and European countries.

"I hope we can create a commission that goes to Libya to talk with the government and the opposition leaders," he said. "We want a peaceful solution ... We support peace in the Arab world and in the whole world."

Without giving further details of the proposed mediation mission, Chavez said it was better to seek "a political solution instead of sending marines to Libya, and better to send a goodwill mission than for the killing to continue".

Al Jazeera's Dima Khatib, reporting from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, said the comments come from "Chavez's ideology that the south can come up with solutions for the south".

"Chavez said that the door is open to all the 'friendly' nations," she said. "It will be interesting to see in the next few days, which countries will be willing to join this international peace commission."

"He says that this [condemnation] has been done against him [Chavez] in the past. He has been accused of harbouring al-Qaeda; he has been accused of all kinds of things without any proof," Al Jazeera's Khatib said

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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