French Ministry Confirms Indirect Contact With Qaddafi Regime

The French government has had indirect contact with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s government, though there haven’t been any direct talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said today.

“We are passing him messages in liaison with the National Transitional Council and our allies,” Valero said today in an e-mailed statement.

Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, said earlier that his father’s government was in talks with France and not with the rebels who are battling the Libyan leader, according to an interview published in El-Khabar, an Algerian newspaper, today.

He also said that a Libyan envoy to Paris had received a message from French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying that once an agreement had been forged between France and his father’s administration, the French would force the rebel National Transitional Council to agree to a ceasefire, El-Khabar said.

France must talk with Qaddafi’s government if it wants to sign oil agreements with Libya and see French companies return to the region, El-Khabar cited Qaddafi’s son as saying.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization started military strikes against Qaddafi’s forces in late March to aid rebels seeking to topple him.

To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.net; Zaid Sabah Abd Alhamid in Washington at zalhamid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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