Libyan opposition rejects Gaddafi truce offer

May 1, 2011 - 0:0

BENGHAZI (Agencies) -- Libya's opposition has rejected leader Muammar Gaddafi's latest offer of a conditional ceasefire and negotiations upon an end to NATO attacks.

The opposition joined NATO on Saturday in dismissing Gaddafi's offer, saying the time for compromise had passed.
“Gaddafi’s regime has lost all credibility,” Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, vice president of the opposition Transitional National Council, said in a statement.
“The people of Libya cannot possibly envisage or accept a future Libya in which Gaddafi’s regime plays any role.”
NATO reiterated the sentiment, saying the alliance wanted to see “not words, but actions” to stop attacks on civilians in Libya.
“(UN Security Council Resolution) 1973 explicitly calls for an end to attacks on and abuses of civilians. The regime has announced ceasefires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians,” a NATO official told the AFP news agency.
The rejection came hours after Gaddafi announced in an address on state television that he would not leave Libya. But he added that he was ready for a truce once “all sides” are involved and NATO stops attacking his forces.
“We were the first to welcome a ceasefire and we were the first to accept a ceasefire ... but the crusader NATO attack has not stopped,” he said. “We did not attack them or cross the sea ... why are they attacking us? Let us negotiate with you, the countries that attack us. Let us negotiate.”
In a marked contrast to previous speeches, where he called the opposition “rats” and promised to track them down house by house, Gaddafi urged opposition fighters to lay down their weapons and said Libyans should not be fighting each other.
He blamed the uprising on mercenaries and foreigners.
“We cannot fight each other,” he said. “We are one family.”
Gaddafi denied mass attacks on civilians and challenged NATO to find him the names of 1,000 people who had been killed in the conflict.
After the pre-dawn broadcast on Saturday, state television said NATO warplanes had bombed a site in the Libyan capital, Tripoli next to the television building during Gaddafi's address.
“A building adjacent to the Jamahiriya building was bombed during the broadcast of Muammar Gaddafi's speech and that implies a target on the leader of the revolution himself,” the report said.
Pro-Gaddafi forces are still struggling for control in key locations of the country as the conflict drags on.
The Libyan government announced claim over the strategic port city of Misurata on Friday, but Al Jazeera correspondent Sue Turton said the situation on the ground differs.
A government spokesman threatened a blockade on Misurata port banning any ships that enter, but NATO said no such forced closure is happening, Turton said.
Gaddafi forces did shut the port on Friday but it is back open, and NATO is making extra effort to ensure humanitarian ships are not sabotaged before reaching the port, she said.
Government forces have been trying to capture Misurata's port for more than seven weeks, as it is a key passage point for humanitarian aid to reach the city's half a million people.
Photo: Gaddafi gave a speech live on state television early on Saturday morning. (AFP photo)