'Gaddafi using $ 20 billion frozen funds to open peace talks'

The talks were held in Tripoli between a team led by a former diplomat close to the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the regime supporters, including Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi.

Britain's Independent newspaper said negotiations for a secret deal aims to use the Libyan regime's USD 20 billion funds frozen abroad for humanitarian relief to benefit both sides in the four months old civil war that has killed an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people.

According to Libyan officials, the aim is to pave the way for the opening of peace talks with the rebels based in the eastern city of Benghazi, the daily said.

It quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the meetings have led to a MoU, which is yet to be inked because of French government warnings that such a deal would give the embattled leader legitimacy and undermine the Western policy to isolated Gaddafi.

Sources in Tripoli said a pact on the use of its assets for aid could lead to a ceasefire agreement and a process under which Gaddafi would relinquish power, the report said.

A copy of the memorandum, seen by The Independent, says that Libya and Greece "decided to put in place urgently a humanitarian operation fulfilling the imperative need to serve all the Libya citizens as well as persons of other nationalities living in Libya in urgent need and on an equal footing applying the international humanitarian criteria".

Unnamed sources quoted in the daily said there is little doubt in Tripoli that "Gaddafi will have to go." "Whether he goes out of the country or somewhere in the desert is something which can be decided later."

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