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Libya: U.S. officials meet with Gaddafi envoys

During face-to-face talks with Muammar Gaddafi's envoys, the U.S. state department reiterated its demand that he step down.

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(Antler)

U.S. officials have met with representatives of Muammar Gaddafi’s government, but the dialogue involved no negotiations, the U.S. state department said.

In a statement, the state department said that during face-to-face talks with Gaddafi's envoys, U.S. officials had again demanded that the Libyan strongman step down, Reuters reports.

"The message was simple and unambiguous — Gaddafi must leave power so that a new political process can begin that reflects the will and aspirations of the Libyan people," the statement said.

A Libyan government spokesman said it would support talks with the United States as long as the discussions were free from preconditions.

While the U.S. state department did not give the location of the talks, Libya said they had taken place in Tunisia.

(More from GlobalPost: James Foley on the Libyan rebels' attempts to retake Brega)

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the talks were an important step in "repairing relations" with the United States.

"We support any dialogue, any peace initiative as long as they don't decide Libya's future from without, they decide it from within," Ibrahim told journalists in Tripoli, according to Reuters.

"We will discuss everything but do not condition your peace talks. Let the Libyans decide their future," he added.

The meeting followed Washington's decision on Friday to formally recognize the Benghazi-based rebel National Transitional Council as the legitimate interim government of Libya.

On Monday, rebels said they had pushed government troops westwards after seizing back most of the key oil refinery town of Brega.

The Libyan government denied the claim, and insisted that Brega was still under its control
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/110718/libya-us-gaddafi-meeting