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The statement calling for a transition toward elections is the strongest Libya-related statement to come out of the AU since the Libya crisis began, and could be seen as a strong rebuke to a leader who has long been well regarded by the continental body.

Gheriani, the opposition spokesman, said he has heard nothing about the meeting.

“The position of the national council has been clear from the beginning — no negotiations,” he said. “All he has to do is stop bombing and leave the country,” Gheriani said, referring to Gadhafi.

Al-Obeidi, the Libyan government represenatative, blamed the the violence in Libya ib “extremists” and foreign intervention.

“We are ready to discuss what the Libyan people want,” he said. “What kind of reform do they want? If it is elections we are willing to discuss about the details. We are willing to negotiate with anyone. These are our people. There is no division between the Libyan people; there is a division between extremists and the Libyan people.”


Associated Press writers Ryan Lucas in Benghazi, Libya and Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this report.