Libyan rebels rule out any role for Muammar Gaddafi in a future government but could let him remain "in a remote part of Libya" as part of a settlement, France's Le Figaro reported on Friday.
The newspaper quoted Mahmoud Shammam, spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), as confirming indirect talks were going on with Gaddafi's side.
"Yes, these contacts are under way through intermediaries. But the talks are never direct. They happen at times in South Africa, sometimes in Paris, where Gaddafi has recently sent a representative to talk to us," Shammam said.
"We consider that he has to resign himself to leaving or accept retirement in a remote part of Libya. We have no objection to him retreating to a Libyan oasis under international control," he added.
But he stressed: "Our conditions have not changed: Gaddafi and his family members can absolutely not participate in a future government."
Gaddafi vowed in a state television broadcast this week to fight on until the end. A rebel uprising backed since March by a NATO-led bombing campaign has so far failed to dislodge him.
Shamman said rebels would talk with "any technocrat or Libyan official who does not have any blood on their hands" over the creation of an interim government with the task of organising elections.
A former foreign minister who has defected said on Thursday he believed Gaddafi was negotiating asylum either elsewhere in Africa or in Belarus.
"I think that he will leave Libya in a few weeks," Abdurrahaman Shalgam told Italy's Corriere della Sera TV.