Libyan rebels have reportedly offered terms of a ceasefire if Moammar Gaddafi withdraws his soldiers from opposition-controlled cities and subsequently permits peaceful protests against the regime, according to a report in Al Jazeera.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the rebel forces’ Benghazi-based interim governing council, said a condition for ceasefire is that “ Gaddafi brigades and forces withdraw from inside and outside Libyan cities to give freedom to the Libyan people to choose and the world will see that they will choose freedom.
Abdul-Jalil’s proposal was announced during a joint press conference with UN envoy Abdelilah Al-Khatib, who is in Benghazi seeking to find political solution to the Libyan crisis.
Abdul-Jalil stressed, however, that the opposition’s ultimate objective is to topple Gaddafi.
Our aim is to liberate and have sovereignty over all of Libya with its capital in Tripoli, he said.
There are worries that an under-armed and under-trained rebel faction simply cannot hold out against Gaddafi’s superior firepower, even with western coalition air strikes targeting Gaddafi’s military.
Meanwhile, pro-government troops continue their savage assault on rebels in eastern Libya, ostensibly the opposition’s stronghold. They have also attacked Misurata, the rebel’s only outpost in the western half of the country.
A correspondent for Al Jazeera pointed out that rebels have sought to negotiate with Gaddafi before, but to no avail.
You have to remember that … Abdel Jalil was saying it in the presence of the United Nations special envoy to Libya, and the UN is calling repeatedly for a ceasefire, and so he had to acknowledge that to some degree, the reporter said.
But the other thing you have to remember that he said, was that if there is no ceasefire then the rebels will press on to try to liberate all the Western town. As time goes by, the military solution to this looks far less likely, and I think the political solution, if not inevitable, looks far more likely.”
Separately, a rebel leader, Ali Tarhouni, noted that they may be able to purchase more weapons from revenues generated by an oil contract with Qatar.
Tarhouni said money from any oil sales would be used to pay for weapons, food, medicine, fuel and other necessities.
Perhaps the rebel main “triumph” of recent days has been the wave of defections from Gaddafi’s inner circle of advisors, including, most spectacularly, the former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, who escaped to Britain via Tunisia. This gives the opposition (and western nations) that Gaddafi could be defeated from within.
We believe that the regime is crumbling from within, said opposition spokesman Mustafa Gheriani, according to Al Jazeera.