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Libyan Rebels Deny Having Direct Talks in Tunisia With Qaddafi Envoys

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has told his supporters to "get ready" for battle following rebel advances.
Libyan rebels are denying reports that they have been talking with the regime of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The United Nations also denied that its special envoy for Libya, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, was involved with talks in Tunisia between representatives of Qaddafi and the rebels after Khatib had indicated that he would be joining such talks.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the United Nations "has no concrete information on any talks which may be held in Tunisia" between the opposition's National Transition Council and Qaddafi's envoys.

He said Khatib "is not participating in such talks," but Khatib did meet with Tunisian officials in Tunis on August 15.

Earlier, unnamed sources close to Tunisian security services said representatives of the Libyan rebels and Qaddafi's regime had met on the Tunisian island of Djerba.

Egyptian officials, meanwhile, say Libyan Interior Minister Nassr al-Mabrouk Abdullah arrived in Cairo on August 15 with his family amid reports that he was abandoning Qaddafi's regime.

Rebels fighting to end Qaddafi's rule say they have advanced into several towns that control key supply routes leading to the capital Tripoli.

Qaddafi has called on his supporters "get ready" for battle.

compiled from agency reports