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Political solution to Libya a ways off

Political solution to Libya a ways off
Palestinian students set fire to placards during a protest against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in Gaza City on February 22, 2011. U.N. negotiations on a political solution to the conflict in Libya are underway today. UPI/Ismael Mohamad | License Photo

UNITED NATIONS, July 12 (UPI) -- Negotiations on a political solution to conflict in Libya are under way, though talks are "a considerable distance" from a breakthrough, a U.N. official said.

Abdul Elah al-Khatib, the U.N. special envoy to Libya, has met with senior Libyan officials on finding a way to end the conflict in the country.

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He said following a closed-door briefing with the U.N. Security Council that a negotiated settlement was a long way off for Libya.

"The process of negotiating a solution has begun, though we are still, regrettably, a considerable distance from finding the solution," he said after the meeting.

"For the sake of the Libyan people, I sincerely hope the time required to reach a solution can be shortened but this will require greater vision and the will to move in that direction."

The United Nations sanctioned international military force in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French radio that Tripoli was sending messages "everywhere" that Gadhafi "is prepared to leave," the BBC reports.

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"There are contacts but it's not a negotiation proper at this stage," he was quoted as saying.

French officials had denied having direct talks with the Gadhafi regime.

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