Here's what US and Libya officials will confirm: They met on Saturday, in Tunisia, and spoke for three hours. Here's what they won't confirm: What they talked about, or what the next step is. The government officials sat down, face-to-face, for the first time since the conflict began, following repeated requests from Gadhafi's camp. A state department official says the US agreed to the meeting, which was neither a negotiation nor the first in a series of meetings, in order to convey an often-uttered message: Moammar Gadhafi must step down.
The Guardian reports that a Libyan government rep described the one-off meeting as a first step, however. "We support any dialogue, any peace initiative, as long as they don't decide Libya's future from outside," he told journalists. Among those in attendance were four members of Gadhafi's inner circle, US ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, and the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs.