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Qaddafi Sons Issue Conflicting Messages

Saif al-Islam speaks to reporters in Tripoli on August 23.
Two sons of Muammar Qaddafi are issuing two very different messages.

Saif al-Islam vowed to fight on in an audio message broadcast on the Syrian-owned Arrai satellite TV channel.

He also said his father is alive and well.

Saif al-Islam warned the rebels against attacking his father's hometown of Sirte, saying "20,000 armed men are in the town and ready to fight."

The rebels have vowed an all-out assault on Sirte and some surrounding villages on Sept. 3 if Qaddafi backers don't surrender by then.

However, another of Qaddafi's sons, Saadi, said he had contacted Libya's National Transitional Council to try to stop the bloodshed.

Saadi told Al-Arabiya TV he had the authorization of his father.

In an interview with Reuters, the chief of anti-Qaddafi forces in Tripoli Abdel Hakim Belhadj said Saadi wants to join NTC forces if his safety is assured.

U.S. news network CNN earlier reported that Saadi denied he planned to surrender.

On the diplomatic front, sixty world leaders and top-level envoys will meet later today in Paris on Libya's future.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to attend the senior-level meeting of the Contact Group on Libya.

Talks are likely to focus on unfreezing billions in Libyan funds held abroad and other ways to help the National Transitional Council which is sending senior officials to attend the meeting in the French capital.

The rebels say they control most of the country now and need $5 billion to set up a stable government.

The meeting comes as China's top official newspaper, "The People's Daily," warned Western powers to let the United Nations lead post-war reconstruction in Libya.

China is sending a minister to the meeting in Paris.

compiled from agency reports