Libya tribal meeting calls for general amnesty

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 07 2011 07:36 AM | Updated as of May 07 2011 03:36 PM

TRIPOLI - Libyan tribal leaders meeting in Tripoli on Friday called for a general amnesty law for those who have fought in Libya's ongoing civil war, a statement said.

"The conference will work on a general amnesty law which will include all those who were involved in the crisis and took up arms," said the statement on conclusions from the National Conference for Libyan Tribes, which ended late on Friday.

"The general amnesty law is a means of laying the path ahead for a new era of peace and forgiveness," it said, without providing further details on the law, or a timetable for its passage.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim had said the tribal leaders at the conference represented tribes from across the country, including those from the rebel-held east.

However, parts of the statement referred to rebels as "traitors" and pledged not to "abandon" or "forsake" Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, whose ouster the rebels are demanding, raising doubts about both calls for reconciliation and the overall representativeness of the conference.

The statement also called for marches to "liberate" rebel-held towns.
"The conference also calls all Libyan tribes neighbouring the towns and cities hijacked by armed groups to move peacefully in popular marches to liberate those highjacked towns, disarming the armed rebels," it said.

It is unclear how disarming the rebels could be accomplished peacefully, and no further details were provided.

Massive protests in February -- inspired by revolts that toppled long-time autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt -- escalated into war when Kadhafi's troops fired on demonstrators and protesters seized several eastern towns.