Leaders of the eastern-based opposition in Libya have rejected the continued leadership of Moammar Gadhafi or his family as part of any diplomatic solution to the Libyan crisis. They were reacting to reports of a proposed deal to end the six week-old conflict.
A spokesman for the opposition National Transition Council (T.N.C), Mustafa Gheriani, said it would not accept any deal that allowed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to remain in power after 41 years of authoritarian rule.
"Colonel Gadhafi’s regime is the one who has tortured them [the people]. He’s the one who broke their homes. And finally they tasted freedom and I don’t think we’re going to go back from here," Gheriani states.
He was reacting to remarks by Gadhafi spokesman Mussa Ibrahim that the Tripoli government was willing to negotiate a new political system but not the departure of the long-ruling colonel.
The remarks followed reports of diplomatic proposals that Gadhafi be replaced by one of his sons.
A member of the Transition Council’s political advisory committee, political-science professor Zahi Mogherbi, said the Libyan people would not allow such a compromise.
"Our people, after what they suffered during the regime - after those too many and precious sacrifices during fight for freedom - would not accept anything less than complete freedom and democracy," Mogherbi said.
The diplomatic efforts came as government troops pushed opposition forces back from the oil-town of Brega some 200 kilometers west of Benghazi.
The area has changed hands several times since the rebels two weeks ago pushed pro-Gadhafi forces from Benghazi with the help of international coalition air strikes.
The Brega area and Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata, continue to bear the brunt of the fighting. A Turkish humanitarian ship returned to Turkey with 250 wounded by the fighting in Misrata and Brega area.
Meanwhile, the opposition was set to begin exporting crude oil for the first time since the popular uprising as a super-tanker docked at the port of Tobruk, near the border with Egypt.
Opposition Spokesman Gheriani said Tobruk was chosen because it lies in a relatively safe area 400 kilometers east of Benghazi. "Tobruk today has the ability to ship 100 to 130,000 barrels per day which will be marketed through Qatar and the money deposited in an account with the T.N.C.," Gheriani said.
He said the port could ship as much as 300,000 barrels per day which he said would be enough to support initially the opposition’s fledgling administration.