PARIS, July 12 (KUNA) -- More than five months into the Libyan conflict, with the loss of thousands of lives, Tripoli is now ready for unconditional negotiations to end the crisis, Prime Minister Al-Bagdadi Ali Al-Mahmudi said in an interview here Tuesday.
As opposition forces painfully fight their way to the Libyan capital, and NATO operations appear to be marking time, Al-Mahmudi asserted that his government would open talks but wants NATO bombings halted first.
"We are ready to negotiate, without conditions," the Prime Minister told French daily "Le Figaro." "We just want the bombings to stop and that we can talk in a serene climate. We cannot dialogue under bombs," he added.
Al-Mahmudi claimed that Tripoli "has nothing" faced with the opposition rebels who have military, financial and supply support from the international community.
"But we are saying: we are ready to talk," he stressed.
The Prime Minister said that over 70 percent of Libyan military capacity had been destroyed, as claimed by NATO.
"We have no planes, no navy, no anti-aircraft. Most of our tanks and our army are out of the fight. We have no rifles. Today we are the most weak," he claimed.
He also alleged that weapons delivered to the rebels, such as French Milan missiles and other weapons, were being sold in the region to radical groups and he warned that the instability favoured a rise in radical or terrorist groups.
Al-Mahmudi also claimed that USD 150 billion in contracts for Libya had been frozen and USD 40 billion of these alone were with France.
The Libyan head of government said that he welcomed indications from France that combat operations alone would not solve the crisis and negotiations were necessary.
The French position is "positive," he affirmed, noting that "only dialogue can work." "We are ready to undertake discussions as of now... with the Libyans, but also with the European Union, and in particular with France. Without any pre-conditions," the Prime Minister stated.
He also claimed that Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi was ready to accept the will of the Libyan people relative to the future form of government in the country.
"Gaddafi says he is ready to respect the decision of the Libyan people that can choose its form of government, a republic, a monarchy or keep the current system of the Jamahiria, and he will bow to this decision," Al-Mahmudi indicated.
Gaddafi's role "is up to the people to decide," he said. (End) jk.hs KUNA 121206 Jul 11NNNN