Excerpts: Gaddafi interview

Jeremy Bowen with Col Muammar Gaddafi Col Gaddafi tells Jeremy Bowen: "They will die to protect me, my people"

Excerpts of an interview given by Col Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli to BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, alongside ABC's Christiane Amanpour and a Sunday Times reporter.

Jeremy Bowen: "You are known as the leader here and you have been the leader for many years. There are plenty of people in this country would say that the biggest obstacle to change is you."

Col Gaddafi: "On the contrary. My presence is to instigate and incite the people for any change they want, and for not having a change that they don't wish to do."

The Libyan leader was then asked about the recent sanctions resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council.

Gaddafi: "To start with, it is null and void. It is not a legitimate resolution, because the Security Council is not mandated. It has no jurisdiction to look into such a case. I want to ask you a question: Why were such sanctions and measures not taken against the Algerians? It is a known fact that the Algerian army is fighting in the streets. Every day there is such a story. Or why were they not used against Russia when Russia was fighting the Chechens? Or why not used against America when America was fighting in Afghanistan? Why not use them against the Israelis fighting the people in Gaza?"

Bowen: "What's your answer to that question?"

Gaddafi: "Because there is an intention to colonise Libya. And this makes the Libyan people want to fight the new colonisation by the West."

Bowen: "In recent years you've had a rapprochement with Western countries. You've had important leaders like Tony Blair here. But now there are Western leaders saying you should go. Do you feel a sense of betrayal about that? Did you ever regard them as friends?"

Gaddafi: "Of course it's betrayal. They have no morals. Besides, if they want me to step down, what do I step down from? I'm not a monarch or a king."

Bowen: "But you make speeches at the UN and you identify very much with Libya even if you don't have a formal title."

Gaddafi: "It's honorary - it's nothing to do with exercising power or authority. In Britain, who has the power? Is it Queen Elizabeth or David Cameron? You don't understand the Libyan system."

Bowen: "We have a head of state who is the Queen, and we have an elected prime minister who is Mr Cameron. Are you thinking then of having an election for prime minister?"

Gaddafi: "You don't really understand the type of system that is being practised here in Libya."

Bowen: "I understand the system you have here, but internationally you are regarded as the leader."

Gaddafi: "You don't understand the system here. Don't say 'I understand' - you don't understand. And the world doesn't understand the system here. The authority of the people. You don't understand it."

Bowen: "How do the people show their authority then? Because some people here who have gone out on to the streets to protest say that your people have shot at them."

Gaddafi: "No demonstration at all in the streets. Did you see demonstrations?"

Bowen: "Yes, I have."

Gaddafi: "Where?"

Bowen: "I saw some today."

Gaddafi: "Where?"

Bowen: "I saw some in Zawiya. Yesterday I saw demonstrations."

Gaddafi: "Are they supporting us?"

Bowen: "No, they're not supporting you. Some were against you, and some were for you."

Gaddafi: "They are not against us. No-one is against us. Against us for what? Because I'm not a president. They love me. All my people are with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people."

Christiane Amanpour: "If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and saying they're against you?"

Gaddafi: "It's al-Qaeda. It's not my people. They came from outside."

Bowen: "So they're the people pulling down the posters and putting up the flag of the king?"

Gaddafi: "It's al-Qaeda, they went into military bases and seized arms and they're terrorising the people. The people who had the weapons were youngsters. They're starting to lay down their weapons now, as the drugs al-Qaeda gave them wear off."

Bowen: "So they're the people pulling down the posters and putting up the flag of the king?"

Gaddafi: "It was al-Qaeda which went into military compounds and police stations, seized ammunitions and arms, and now it is terrorising the people and they have taken to the streets. They have no claims, no demands. They are not staging such demonstrations at all. Anywhere, whether it is Libya, Nigeria or Afghanistan, they are not taking to the streets and staging demonstrations. Those people who have weapons, they are young people - youthful - who do not know al-Qaeda. Now they have already started laying down their arms, selling them and returning to their homes. Now they are awakening from the hallucinogenic drugs which were given to them."

Bowen: "Col Gaddafi, how do you end this crisis? A large part of the country is under the control of insurgents, rebels. There is a great deal of foreign pressure coming in on you. How does this all end?"

Gaddafi: "We are not concerned about foreign pressure."

Bowen: "What about the fact that you have lost control of a lot of the country?"

Gaddafi: "We are concerned about our people, and my people are with me. We are sure of ourselves. We shall remain and they will fall."

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