The junior Foreign Office minister, Alistair Burt, has said that the UN attempted again to negotiate with the Gaddafi regime, but without success. He told BBC news:
It has been clear that Gaddafi does not have a firm grip on reality and has not been interested in leading or negotiating.
A representative of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has been on the Tunisian island of Djerba for the past days.
Tunisia on August 21 decided to recognise the rebel National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, the official news agency TAP reported.
Abdesslem Jalloud, one of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s closest aides, left the island of Djerba onboard a plane bound for Italy on Saturday, the state-run press agency TAP reported.
The former Libyan number two who defected on August 19, first headed towards the city of Zenten under rebel control, before entering Tunisia.
In a related event, Libya’s Petrol Minister Omrane Boukraa, who was on a mission in Italy, chose to return to Tunisia, TAP said.
Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin has met Libyan rebels and envoys loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in Tunisia for talks aimed at ending the conflict, a French newspaper reported on August 18.
Villepin, a rival to President Nicolas Sarkozy who has floated plans for a presidential run in 2012,
The former member of Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party was in the island of Djerba, off Tunisia, for talks with parties from both sides on August 15, Le Parisien daily reported.
“I was indeed there, but I cannot make any further comment because it would compromise the chances of success and the efficacy of these talks,” Villepin told Le Parisien, adding that the talks had been “extremely difficult”.
France’s foreign ministry declined to comment on what it called “private trips by French figures abroad”.
“Talks took place during last night at a Djerba hotel under heavy security,” a source close to the Tunisian security services told AFP.
“Convoys of cars on Sunday crossed the border at Ras Jedir, near Djerba”, the source added, asking not to be named.
Libyan Health Minister Ahmed Hijazi and Social Affairs Minister Ibrahim Cherif stayed in Djerba on Sunday, where they were joined by Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi, the national TAP news agency said.
Negotiations were under way with “several other foreign parties”, the agency added, without giving details of the content of the talks.
But the reports of talks were met with a swift denial from Benghazi, the insurgency’s stronghold in eastern Libya.
There are unconfirmed, yet widely quoted reports, that representatives of both Col. Muammar Qaddafi and the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) have met in Tunisia for confidential talks.
Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi and health minister Mohammed Hijazi are reportedly part of the Qaddafi delegation. The United Nations (UN) special envoy to Libya, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib is reportedly leading the ‘secret negotiations’.
The UN special envoy for Libya, Abdel-Elah al-Khatib, was in Tunis on August 15, where a Tunisian government spokesman said he would meet “all the Libyan parties”. But both Tripoli and the rebel council denied reports that their delegations were talking to each other in the Tunisian coastal town of Djerba. an island resort hotel. Deputy minister of security, Nasser al-Mabrouk Abdullah has fled to Cairo with his family, in what could be a sign of more defections if the government crumbles. Talks could signal the endgame of a conflict that has drawn in the NATO alliance and emerged as one of the bloodiest confrontations in the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world. Gaddafi’s government dismissed reports of negotiations about the Libyan leader’s future as part of a “media war” against him.