ABC News Gets First Crack at Qaddafi

Amanpour interviews Libyan leader alongside BBC, Times of London

ABC's Christiane Amanpour — along with the BBC and Times of London — was granted a joint interview with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Sunday.

During the hour-long interview, the Libyan leader denied there are people demonstrating against him anywhere there — which is kind of like Charlie Sheen denying he has a drug problem.

"My people love me," Qaddafi said. "They would die for me."

More backstory from Amanpour:

We conducted the interview at a restaurant in the Corniche, a coastal road on Tripoli's Mediterranean coast. Qaddafi, wearing sunglasses and dressed in a brown tribal dress, drove up in a small convoy of sedans, got out and greeted us. The longtime leader seemed not to be surrounded by huge amounts of security.

Qaddafi's version of the truth seemed to be at odds with what people have been talking about and reporting here, and he does not seem to fully comprehend the drama and the magnitude of what’s going on around him. He said he would not be leaving Libya, and denied — in very strong terms — using any force against his people. I asked him several times about reports that aerial bombardments had been used against protesters, but Qaddafi said they did not happen and that they had only bombed military and ammunition depots.

He seemed to be in complete denial about the protests against him, and that other big cities in Libya, particularly those in the east, had been taken by his opponents. He simply rejected the notion that any walls were closing in on him. He denied he was besieged in the capital and said he would survive the current situation. Qaddafi reiterated his mantra, saying he's not president and he's not in a formal position. Libya is ruled by the people, and he is one of the people … Qaddafi instead blamed al Qaeda for encouraging young people to seize arms from military installations.

He said the people who have taken over Benghazi in eastern Libya are terrorists and al Qaeda operatives. He doesn't believe people are demonstrating against him anywhere in Libya, and repeated the charge that those who are have been given hallucinogenic drugs.

The Qaddafi interview will air on Monday's "World News With Diane Sawyer" on ABC. ABC's interview with Sheen will air on Tuesday's "20/20."