Libyan Rebel Chief: Gadhafi Can Stay in Libya if He Resigns

Posted July 3rd, 2011 at 9:55 am (UTC-5)
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Libya's rebel chief says the opposition movement is willing to let Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remain in the country if he resigns and agrees to international supervision of his movements.

In an interview with Reuters news agency Sunday, Mustafa Abdel Jalil says the rebels made the offer to Mr. Gadhafi through the United Nations about a month ago, but have yet to receive a response. Jalil was speaking from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the stronghold of his rebel Transitional National Council.

Jalil says that if Mr. Gadhafi resigns and orders his troops to withdraw from their positions, he can decide whether to stay in Libya or move abroad. The rebel chief says that if the Libyan leader wants to stay, the rebels will determine his location and “all of his movements” will be under international supervision.

Mr. Gadhafi has vowed a fight to the end against rebels who began an uprising in February against his 42-year autocratic rule. Western powers have backed rebel demands for him to step down and have contributed to NATO air strikes on pro-Gadhafi forces to stop them from attacking Libyan civilians.

A rebel TNC spokesman says the African Union's approval on Friday of a new plan to resolve the Libyan conflict does not go far enough because it fails to call for Mr. Gadhafi's resignation.

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga says the rebels will pursue a military campaign to topple Mr. Gadhafi unless he resigns all of his duties and allows the country to begin a transition to democracy.

African Union leaders representing South Africa, Mauritania, Uganda, Mali, and the Republic of Congo drafted a plan for Libya that calls for an immediate suspension of hostilities, a timetable for democratic reforms, the release of all prisoners of war and the lifting of all sieges.

It says Mr. Gadhafi would stay out of AU-led negotiations on Libya's transition to democracy.