Libya's government has pushed for a ceasefire, saying for the first time it is prepared to talk to the rebel adversary.
This is a signal that the past few months of fighting and the NATO bombardments may have achieved.
But the government insisted that Moammar Gaddafi would not relinquish power, which he has held for more than 40 years.
In fact, his departure is a key demand of the United States, European leaders, and the rebels, who say that after more than three months of fighting they will not consider halting their efforts until Gaddafi goes.
Mahmoudi told reporters that he is willing to hold talks with “all Libyans,’’ including members of the rebel administration who are based in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Officials from Gaddafi’s regime had in the past insisted that they would not speak to the rebel government, arguing that it did not represent Libyans.
“The leader, Moammar Gaddafi, is in the heart of every Libyan. If he leaves, the entire Libyan people leave,’’ said Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.
Gaddafi has countered the intense NATO bombing on the Libyan capital by seeking shelter at night in hospitals as he knew that they would not be bombed, according to a British official accompanying Prime Minister David Cameron to the G-8 summit meeting in France.
This was the first time that there is an acknowledgment by a senior official that NATO had access to the whereabouts of Gaddafi’s movements.
Gaddafi has not been seen in public since May 11, and his commanders have stopped communicating through telephones because they fear of being overheard.
In turn, their inability to communicate has hampered their ability to fight, one UK diplomatic source told Reuters, and there is also evidence of further defections from the military.
Late on Thursday, at least five explosions were heard in Tripoli from NATO airstrikes. The targets were not immediately identified.
In a another development, an international group made public a document showing that Gaddafi has stashed billions of dollars of Libyan oil revenue with financial institutions on Wall Street and Europe, the International Herald Tribune reported.
The document has been verified as authentic and is a summary of the Libyan Investment Authority’s holdings, created for the fund by the London office of the consulting firm KPMG, dated June 30, 2010.
Many of the Libyan Investment Authority assets are frozen because of international sanctions against the Syrian regime, after the NATO action.
United States and Britain have frozen $55 billion of Libyan assets, out of total foreign assets which is estimated to be around $150 billion.