Why are you attacking us? Why are you killing our children? Why are you destroying our infrastructure?
– Television address by Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, April 30, 2011
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has called for negotiations with NATO to stop the coalition’s air strikes against his country.
Speaking live on late-night television, Mr Gaddafi said he was ready for a ceasefire provided it was accepted by all sides.
Mr Gaddafi said he did not intend to step down or leave the country and that Libyans could solve their own problems.
“Libya is ready until now to enter a ceasefire … but a ceasefire cannot be from one side”.
“We were the first to welcome a ceasefire and we were the first to accept a ceasefire … but the crusader NATO attack has not stopped,” he said.
“The gate to peace is open.”
Mr Gaddafi said the NATO airstrikes and naval patrols went beyond the United Nations mandate and urged Russia, China and friendly African and Latin American countries to press the Security Council to take a fresh look at the resolution.
Mr Gaddafi said the strikes and sanctions were affecting civilians and were destroying the country’s infrastructure.
Mr Gaddafi urged the rebels to lay down their weapons and said Libyans should not be fighting each other.
He blamed the rebellion on mercenaries and foreigners.
“We cannot fight each other,” he said. “We are one family.”
Mr Gaddafi denied mass attacks on civilians and challenged NATO to find him 1,000 people who had been killed in the conflict.
“We did not attack them or cross the sea … why are they attacking us?” asked Mr Gaddafi, referring to European countries involved in the air strikes.
“Let us negotiate with you, the countries that attack us. Let us negotiate.”
If NATO powers were not interested in talks, however, the Libyan people would not surrender and were willing to die its terrorist attacks.
He warned NATO that its forces would die if it invaded by land.
“Either freedom or death. No surrender. No fear. No departure,” he said.
“I’m not leaving my country. No one can force me to leave my country and no one can tell me not to fight for my country.”
After the broadcast, state television said NATO warplanes had bombed a site in the Libyan capital Tripoli next to the television building during Mr Gaddafi’s address.
A building adjacent to the Jamahiriya building was bombed during the broadcast of Mr Gaddafi’s speech and that implies a target on the leader of the revolution himself.
Mr Gaddafi survived a NATO missile strike Saturday that killed his youngest son and three grandchildren and wounded friends and relatives.
Gaddafi and his wife were in the Tripoli house of his 29-year-old son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, when it was hit by at least one missile fired by a NATO warplane.
The attack resulted in the martyrdom of brother Saif al-Arab Gadhafi, 29 years old, and three of the leader’s grandchildren.
The one-story house in a Tripoli residential neighborhood was heavily damaged.
Saif al-Arab Gadhafi was the sixth son of Gadhafi.