Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi has reached out directly to United States President Barack Obama through a letter in which he described NATO as engaged in an “unjust war against a small people of a developing country” and called on Mr. Obama to “keep NATO off the Libyan affair for good”.

Addressing Mr. Obama as “Our son” and “Excellency,” Mr. Qadhafi said Libya had already been subjected to an arms embargo and sanctions and furthermore it also “suffered a direct military armed aggression during [the former U.S. President, Ronald] Reagan's time.”

Reminding Mr. Obama that democracy and the building of civil society could not be achieved by means of missiles and aircraft, or by backing armed member of Al-Qaeda in the rebel-held city of Benghazi, Mr. Qadhafi said though Libyans had been “hurt more morally [than] physically,” Mr. Obama would still “always remain our son whatever happened”.

Wishing Mr. Obama luck in his 2012 presidential campaign, he said, “We still pray that you continue to be President of the USA. We endeavour and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne [sic]. You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action.”

Even as Mr. Qadhafi's letter reached the White House, it became clear that a former U.S. Congressman with Libyan connections, Curt Weldon, had travelled to Tripoli in a private capacity.

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said in a briefing that Mr. Weldon had not undertaken the trip at the behest of the U.S. government though he had informed the administration before travelling to Libya. Mr. Toner said, “I don't know if it is helpful or unhelpful... He is not representing the U.S. government.”

According to reports, Mr. Weldon had travelled repeatedly to Libya during the last decade, “becoming so close with the Qadhafi regime that the firm Weldon worked for even floated the idea of selling arms to Tripoli.” CNN reported that Mr. Weldon had returned to Libya at this time “to try to help negotiate a political settlement with Qadhafi and family”.

In an article, the New York Times said Mr. Weldon had travelled to Libya at the invitation of Mr. Qadhafi's chief of staff, and said his purpose was “to meet with Col. Qadhafi today and persuade him to step aside”.

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