NATO, Libyan Rebels Snub Qaddafi Ceasefire Offer

World | April 30, 2011, Saturday // 18:36

NATO and the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) have rejected Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi's offer on Saturday for a ceasefire and negotiations.

In a speech early Saturday morning Qaddafi offered the rebels and NATO, which is leading international air strikes against his regime, a bilateral ceasefire.

"I have no official functions to give up: I will not leave my country and will fight to the death. We are ready to talk with France and the United States, but with no preconditions. We will not surrender, but I call on you to negotiate. If you want petrol, we will sign contracts with your companies—it is not worth going to war over. Between Libyans, we can solve our problems without being attacked, so pull back your fleets and your planes. I am sacred to the Libyan people, I am a symbol and a father to them... more sacred than the emperor of Japan is to his people," Qaddafi said adding that the rebels battling his forces "are terrorists who are not from Libya, but from Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Afghanistan."

"The time for compromise has passed. The people of Libya cannot possibly envisage or accept a future Libya in which Qaddafi's regime plays any role," said Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice-chairman of the transitional council that has shaped itself into a parallel government in the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi, as quoted by Al Arabiya.

NATO has responded to the dictator's offer that it would continue air strikes on Colonel Qaddafi's forces as long as civilians were threatened.

"We need to see actions, not words. NATO will continue operations until all attacks and threats against civilians have ceased, until all of Qaddafi's forces have returned to base and until there is a full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance. The regime has announced ceasefires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians ... Any ceasefire must be credible and verifiable," according to a NATO official cited by international media.

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Tags: NATO, Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, rebels, air strikes, transitional National Council
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