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Libyan Rebels Reject African Union Peace Plan

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, official spokesman for the national transitional council speaks during a news conference in Benghazi (File Photo - April 16, 2011)

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, official spokesman for the national transitional council speaks during a news conference in Benghazi (File Photo - April 16, 2011)

Libyan rebels are rejecting an African Union peace plan because it does not demand the immediate resignation of Moammar Gadhafi. The African Union wants a multi-national peacekeeping force for Libya.

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, the spokesman for Libya's rebel National Transitional Council says the African Union plan is not complete because it does not call for Colonel Gadhafi to give up power.

He says rebels will not approve an AU plan that does not include a clear statement that Moammar Gadhafi step down and resign all duties, because Ghoga says such a plan does not satisfy the demands of their revolution.

The leaders of South Africa, Mauritania, Uganda, Mali, and the Republic of Congo drafted a plan that calls for the immediate suspension of hostilities, a comprehensive ceasefire, and a timetable for democratic reforms along with the release of all prisoners of war and the lifting of all sieges.

It says the United Nations should send a “sizeable peacekeeping force” to Libya in cooperation with the African Union and the Arab League, and calls for the Security Council to lift the no-fly zone that authorizes NATO air strikes.

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim says the Gadhafi administration is ready to discuss a peaceful resolution with all parties in Libya, but only when hostilities against it cease.

“I am sure you agree with me, you cannot have a productive dialogue under the umbrella of rockets and bombs," said Ibrahim. "You have to stop hostilities, bombardments, all parties announce a ceasefire and then we have a way to implement and enforce the ceasefire.”

Ibrahim says the Gadhafi government has been consistent in its approach since this conflict began in February.

"We are for peace and democracy in Libya," he said. "We are the only party that signed the African road map months ago. We have been saying for months now that we will talk to all parties and we will sit down to find a peaceful resolution or solution for this crisis. Finally it seems that other parties are coming to our position, which is very productive, although it is quite late now with all deaths and martyrs and the suffering and pain that the Libyan nation has been taking on for months now."

Rebel spokesman Ghoga says there is no solution to this conflict that includes Moammar Gadhafi.

Ghoga says rebels will have no choice but to pursue a military operation if Gadhafi does not satisfy the demands of the people that he resign so the country can have a transition to democracy.

The Libyan leader had already agreed to stay out of African Union-led negotiations on that transition. But rebel representatives at last week's AU summit in Equatorial Guinea made clear their demands for more from the alliance. The summit's final statement offered no criticism of the government in Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi has long been one of the African Union's largest financial supporters.