Libyan government drafting conflict amnesty law

The justice ministry's move comes after a meeting on Friday where tribal leaders requested a general amnesty for fighters, calling them "traitors".

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TRIPOLI // Libya's government is drafting an amnesty law for fighters in the country's civil war, its prime minister said Saturday, in the latest in a series of measures aimed at appeasing rebels.

The justice ministry "is drafting this law, and will be responsible for implementing it in the future," Baghdadi Mahmudi told a news conference when asked about a general amnesty law sought by tribal leaders.

After meeting in Tripoli on Friday, the National Conference for Libyan Tribes called for a "general amnesty law which will include all those who were involved in the crisis and took up arms."

Mahmudi did not provide details on when work on the new legislation had begun, or the specific provisions of the law, which follows other amnesty announcements.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim noted on Saturday that there had been various local amnesties.

"Misurata has its own amnesty law, Ajdabiya, different towns. We had amnesty laws before for previous cities that were liberated," he said.

Mahmudi said meanwhile that tribal leaders who met in Tripoli "are now responsible for the national dialogue," and have the "mandate and jurisdiction to talk to people and the international community or governments... to explain and to listen and to enter into dialogue."

He did not elaborate.

The prospects for dialogue remain unclear given that, in their statement on Friday, the tribal leaders referred to rebels as "traitors" and pledged not to "abandon" or "forsake" Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, whose ouster the rebels are demanding.

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.