By Lin Noueihed
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's deputy foreign minister said on Friday Muammar Gaddafi's army may quit fighting in Misrata because of NATO airstrikes and allow local tribes to lead the fight against rebels.
Khaled Kaim said the army was meeting with local tribes who would try to talk to the rebels first. If dialogue fails, the tribes would fight the rebels in Libya's third largest city.
Kaim told reporters that the tribes had told the army: "if you can't do it, we will do it."
"Now there is an ultimatum before the Libyan army. If they can't resolve the problem in Misrata then the people from the region... will move in," he said.
"The tactic of the army is to have a surgical solution but with the (NATO) airstrikes it doesn't work," he said. "The situation in Misrata will be eased, will be dealt with by the tribes around Misrata and the rest of Misrata's people and not by the Libyan army."
Libya's government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said on Thursday that Libya had begun arming and training tribes around Misrata.
Libyan officials say they hold 80 percent of the city but rebels said on Friday they had captured several central buildings from government forces.
Hundreds of fighters and civilians have died in Misrata during the siege. Rebel fighters have voiced frustration with the NATO military operation they see as too cautious.
Kaim said the U.S. decision to use armed Predator drones against government forces "will be another crime against humanity committed by the American administration."
(Reporting by Lin Noueihed, Editing by Diana Abdallah)