Qatar's Al Jazeera television reported on Friday that firefights were under way between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels in the eastern oil port of Ras Lanuf, 660 km east of Tripoli. It also said there were battles between Gaddafi loyalists and rebels in Zawiyah, 50 km west of Tripoli.
Meanwhile, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said his friend Gaddafi supported foreign mediation to end the crisis. Though rebels have rejected talks with the Libyan leader, the Latin American leader said the idea had gained traction in Tripoli. "I was able to speak to Gaddafi yesterday and we proposed a negotiating commission and he said yes," Chavez said, adding that he had also discussed the idea with other Latin American, Middle East and African nations, Reuters reported. "I hope they don't invade Libya ... we want peace." Gaddafi's son Saif al Islam told Sky News he appreciated the offer but said there was no need for help from Venezuela. "They are our friends, we respect them, we like them, but they are far away. They have no idea about Libya. Libya is in the Middle East and North Africa. Venezuela is in Central America. We appreciate this," he said. The Arab League said it was considering the idea but needed more details.