TRIPOLI, Libya (WPIX)—In a strange turn of events, Muammar Gaddafi canceled a scheduled meeting he asked to have with former U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon Wednesday in Libya. In a copyrighted exclusive report, WPIX-TV reporter Larry Mendte is the only journalist in Weldon's delegation and has unique access to the fallout and Thursday's series of meetings with Libya's prime minister and other top officials.
The peculiarity surrounding the meeting's cancelation is that Weldon, who has served on the as vice-chair of the House Armed Services Committee, was invited by Gaddafi, himself, to Tripoli in an effort broker a deal with NATO and U.S. leaders.
Although the meeting was canceled, Weldon and his delegation have pressed on and now a series of meetings with the prime minister and will present five proposals to end the conflict in Libya. WPIX-TV's reporter will be sitting in on those high-level meetings as well.
WPIX-TV has learned that the stakes for these meetings will be much higher as negociations are coming to an end.
Weldon will present his five proposals, along with some reiterated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and focus mainly on two of them: an immediate United Nations-monitored ceasefire and current leadership to step down.
Other proposals include interim government to be established and a target date for elections.
Although this is not an official government trip, the White House, State Department and Congress have not discouraged Weldon's meetings.
WPIX-TV has learned that Weldon's series of meetings with Libya's top officials is just one of several so-called "back channel" negociations -- all of which are aimed toward bringing peace to Libya.
After Thursday's series of meeting Weldon and his group will leave Libya. The timing will be two days ahead of a Saturday meeting between members of the African Union and Gaddafi.