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Libya offers free polls this year

world Updated: Apr 20, 2011 23:50 IST

Libya could hold free elections, supervised by the United Nations, within six months of the end of the conflict engulfing the country, its foreign minister has told The Guardian.

Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, who took over from Moussa Koussa after his defection from Libya last month, said the regime was prepared to consider an interim national government before elections could be held. A six-month period had been discussed, he said. Obeidi said: "Everything will be on the table."

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet the head of Libya's rebels, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, in Paris on Wednesday, as Western powers struggle to break a deadlock in the two-month conflict.

Jalil is expected to ask that Nato forces increase air strikes and he could supply a list of names of officials in Tripoli with whom the opposition would be willing to work if Gaddafi departs, a source close to the Libyan opposition said on Tuesday.