HIGHLIGHTS - Libyan TV address by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

RABAT Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:12am IST

Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, gestures as he speaks during an address on state television in Tripoli, in this still image taken from video, February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Libyan TV via REUTERS TV

Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, gestures as he speaks during an address on state television in Tripoli, in this still image taken from video, February 20, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Libyan TV via REUTERS TV

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RABAT (Reuters) - Following are highlights from an address on state TV by the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, on the unrest gripping Libya.

ON REPORTED DEATHS IN THE UNREST

"There were some planning errors. Errors from the police ... and the army that was not equipped and prepared to confront angry people and...to defend its premises, weapons and ammunition.

"Each party has its own version of the story. But the unfortunate bottom line is that sons of Libya have died. This is the tragedy."

ON THE DEMANDS OF PROTESTERS

He said he agreed with and understood the "clear political agenda and demands" by political organisations, trade unions and lawyers whom he said were behind the events in east Libya.

"These do not represent a problem. We understand and agree with their opinions."

ON PEOPLE HE BLAMED FOR THE UNREST

"They have started by attacking army camps, have killed soldiers, officers...and taken weapons".

"The security forces...have arrested dozens in Libya who unfortunately were among our brother Arabs and among the African expatriates...who were used in these events at these times to create problems...Some wealthy (businessmen) and tradesmen spent millions on them to use these people".

"There are groups that want to rule, there are groups that want to form the state in eastern Libya and rule...in Benghazi and Baida...

"There are groups that have formed a government in Benghazi and groups that have set up an Islamic emirate in Baida ... and another person who declared himself to be the ruler of the Islamic Republic of Darna".

"They now want to transform Libya into a group of (Islamic) emirates, small states and even (cause) separatism. They have a plot. Unfortunately, our brother Arabs (allowed) their media, their stations and the inflammatory coverage."

ON DANGERS FACING LIBYA

"The story is extremely dangerous... And here I would like to draw your attention that Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt.

"Libya, unlike Tunisia and Egypt, is about tribes, clans and alliances. Libya does not have a civil society or political parties.

ON LIBYA'S OIL

"Libya has oil and it is oil that has unified Libya...Who has the ability to manage oil in Libya? Where will National Oil Company be based? In Tripoli...Baida, or Sabha. How can we split the oil? Where will we get the money to spend on our children?

"Do you expect the Libyans if partition occurs or if a civil war occurs...to reach an agreement on how to share oil within a week, a month, two or three years?

"This oil will be burned by thugs, criminals, gangs and tribes and there will be major and bloody conflicts over it and, in the end, no Libyan will end up with this oil, because its in the central and southern parts of Libya, in the midst of the desert. Three quarters of our population are based in the western area.

"Your children tomorrow might not go to schools, nor universities. We will not be able to find flour to eat, you will not find money in the banks, your savings will be gone.

ON TEST FACING LIBYA

"Today, we are facing a major and historic test.I will put it frankly, even the thugs, the delinquents, now have tanks and machine-guns.They were stolen.

"Today we are at a crossroads ... We either tell ourselves 'we are Libyans and this is our country, we want ... freedom, democracy and real reform, this and that', and this has been planned and agreed upon and was supposed to be done at the upcoming general congress assembly (or) we will all seek the judgement of weapons.

"Instead of mourning 84, we will be mourning hundreds of thousands...and the oil will stop.

"We will not be eating a loaf of bread ... So, I tell you, that before we use weapons as a decider and we enter a civil war and total chaos ...tomorrow we conduct a historic national initiative, within 48 hours, three days, 6 hours, to call for a General People's Congress with a clear agenda that is to adopt a battery of laws that had initially been agreed upon, the press law, the civil society.

Civilised laws, new laws ... widen freedoms, cancel many of the existing hindrances, the silly existing punishments and initiate a national dialogue on a Libyan constitution.

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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