Documents show Gaddafi tried to halt NATO: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2011 10:39 PM
Documents show Gaddafi tried to halt NATO: report

LONDON (Reuters) - The Gaddafi government carried out a lobbying operation to try to stop NATO's bombardment of Libya, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Friday, citing secret documents seen by the newspaper.

The newspaper said the documents in Tripoli showed Libya's rulers believed NATO forces were likely to launch a full-scale invasion in "either late September or October."

It said the documents also showed that Tripoli approached key international opinion formers in the United States, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Since NATO took command of air strikes on Libya on March 31, its aircraft have conducted more than 20,000 sorties including 7,635 strike sorties, the organization said on Thursday.

Sixteen ships under NATO command are also patrolling the central Mediterranean Sea to enforce a U.N. arms embargo.

The paper also said the documents showed the Libyan prime minister wrote a letter to Obama in June, in which he addressed him as "Mr. President," and politely complained about Washington's "unprecedented decision" to confiscate Libya's assets.

It said Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic congressman who voted against NATO military action in Libya, declined a Libyan approach to visit as part of a "peace mission."

The plan was for Kucinich to meet "senior Libyan officials, including Gaddafi."

"Because of the efforts I had made early on to bring an end to the war, I started to get calls from Libya, including from the prime minister," the Guardian quoted Kucinich as saying.

"I had several requests to go to Libya. I made it clear I could not negotiate on behalf of the administration. I said I was speaking as a member of Congress involved in the issue and willing to listen to what they had to say. But given that Libya was under attack, it did not seem a promising place to hold meetings."

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Alison Williams)