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April 7th, 2011
08:19 PM ET

Ex-U.S. lawmaker still waiting for Gadhafi meeting

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Curt Weldon, the former U.S. congressman who intends to meet with Moammar Gadhafi and persuade him to step aside, told CNN on Thursday he hasn't yet but still hopes to sit down with Libya's defiant strongman.

If and when he does have the sit-down, Weldon said he plans "to reinforce the message of the Obama administration."

Later Thursday, Weldon told "The Situation Room" he will give the Libyan government until Friday to set up the meeting.

"It is time for us to resolve this conflict," said Weldon, a Republican who once represented a House district outside Philadelphia. Libya remains in a deadly stalemate as pro-Gadhafi forces battle rebel fighters demanding an end to Gadhafi's nearly 42-year-rule.

Weldon said he was underscoring the importance of an immediate cease-fire monitored by the United Nations on both sides, with the Libyan army pulling back in all the cities in distress and rebel forces stopping their forward movement to protect the people.

"I'm here only because I want to avoid war," Weldon told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I don't want to see American soldiers killed, and I don't want to see more innocent Libyans killed."

Weldon said he and his small entourage have met with aides and other officials of the embattled regime this week, including the prime minister, chief of staff and one of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi.

"We are here on a private delegation only because I have met with Gadhafi more than any other American on three official congressional visits. I know the man and I wanted to basically have the chance to confront directly the issues that are important," he said.

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