A Libyan government spokesman said today that representatives of Moammar Gadhafi's regime and U.S. officials held face-to-face talks in Tunisia.
"This is a first step. We welcome any further steps," [government spokesman] Musa Ibrahim said in a brief interview with CNN. "We don't want to be stuck in the past."
Libyan officials have said previously that the Tripoli government had been conducting talks with the Benghazi-based rebels, but officials with the rebels' Transitional National Council denied the claim. And Ibrahim said in June that Libya would not consider a peace initiative that would require Gadhafi to step down.
The AP reports that a State Department official confirmed the meeting but said "it was only to deliver the message that Gadhafi must step down and no future meetings were planned."
Last week, as we reported, France made a similar announcement. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said his country was talking to "emissaries" of the Gadhafi regime.