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Libyan official flies to Egypt with Gaddafi message

High ranking member of Libyan government flies to Cairo to deliver a message from Gaddafi

AP , Wednesday 9 Mar 2011
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A high-ranking member of the Libyan government landed in Cairo on Wednesday and embassy staff told Egyptian officials that he was carrying a message from embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi said in a Turkish television interview that Libyans would fight back if Western nations imposed a no-fly zone to prevent his regime from using its air force to bomb government opponents staging a rebellion.

He said imposing the restrictions would prove the West's real intention was to seize his country's oil wealth.

"Such a situation would be useful," Gaddafi said. "The Libyan people would understand their real aims to take Libya under their control, to take their freedoms and to take their oil and all Libyan people will take up arms and fight." Hours later, Maj. Gen Abdul-Rahman bin Ali al-Saiid al-Zawi, the head of Libya's

logistics and supply authority, arrived on a private jet, according to an Egyptian airport official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Falcon carrying al-Zawi took off from a small Libyan airport and flew through Maltese and Greek airspace before landing in Egypt, according to Greek civilian and military officials.

Greek state TV said the plane belongs to the Libyan government, but cited no source for its information.

There have been no public contacts between the Libyan regime and Egypt's ruling generals since the Libyan uprising broke out on Feb. 15, and there have been no known government-related flights during that time.

Gaddafi spoke with Turkey's state-run TRT Turk television late Tuesday after a surprise appearance at a hotel where foreign journalists are staying in Tripoli.

In separate remarks, he called on Libyans in the rebel-held east of the country to take back control from the opposition leaders who have seized the territory.

Forces loyal to the Libyan leader have been fighting rebels in the east as well as in a handful of towns close to the capital Tripoli, where he has total control.

In the interview, Gaddafi was responding to U.S. and British plans for action against his regime, including imposing a no-fly zone to prevent Gaddafi's warplanes from striking rebels.

Gaddafi claimed such a move would lead Libyans to understand that the foreigners' aim was to seize oil and take their freedom away. If that happened, he said, he "Libyans will take up arms and fight." Libyan state television also broadcast remarks by Gaddafi addressing a group of youths from the town of

Zintan, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Tripoli. Gaddafi again blamed al-Qaida operatives from Egypt, Algeria, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories for the turmoil roiling his country since Feb. 15.

State television broadcast Gaddafi's address early on Wednesday, but did not say when the Libyan leader had spoken.

Gaddafi has been in power since 1969, when he led a military coup that topple the monarchy.

In the TRT Turk interview, Gaddafi said there were no legitimate grounds for a foreign intervention in his country, insisting that Libya was only fighting al-Qaida as in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

"If al-Qaida seizes Libya, that will amount to a huge disaster," Gaddafi said. "If they (al-Qaida fighters) take this place over, the whole region, including Israel, will be dragged into chaos. Then, (al-Qaida leader Osama) Bin Laden may seize all of north Africa that faces Europe."

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