The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says talks are to take place between Norway and Libyan rebels following a plea from the National Transitional Council.
“[We want] to explore how we can expand this relationship and how Norway can extend more political and other support to the Libyan people” Guma El-Gamaty, the rebels’ UK spokesman, told NRK in an interview this week.
There have been conflicting reports over the last ten days or so regarding direct negotiations between rebels and Gaddafi’s government.
The Norwegian broadcasting corporation has earlier reported of planned meetings in Oslo.
“Representatives of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have met with representatives of the rebels in several European cities including Oslo, Berlin and Paris,” said Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov.
At a press conference with Italy’s foreign minister last week, Rebel leader Mahmud Jibril fiercely denied this, however.
“I can assure you that there are no negotiations between the National Transitional Council and the regime,” he said.
Meanwhile, just three days ago, Dagbladet reported Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov’s press secretary issued a statement countering the official’s earlier remarks.
Watching the unfolding allegations and counter-allegations has been Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It has previously refused to comment, even though Deputy Minister Espen Barth Eide confirmed in May Norwegian diplomats entered negotiations with rebel spokesmen.
The Deputy Minister Barth Eide has now confirmed forthcoming talks with Guma El-Gamaty, ABC Nyheter reported, Wednesday.
This latest announcement verifies that Norway recognises the National Transitional Council as a legitimate political body.
“No matter how long it takes, no matter what violence Gaddafi uses, he has lost legitimacy and he cannot defy the will of the Libyan people of getting rid of him and achieving their aspiration of freedom, justice and equality,” Mr El-Gamaty said in the same NRK interview.
“There is no way we could discuss with [Gadaffi] any form of political solution that he is part of. He is part of the problem; he cannot be part of the solution.”