Libyan Rebels Turn Down African Union Cease Fire Plan
Not surprisingly, the Libyan rebels have refused to agree to a proposed cease fire deal put together by members of the African Union:
BENGHAZI, Libya — A rebel council in the de facto capital of forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi on Monday rejected an African Union delegation’s proposal for a cease-fire and continued to press for Gaddafi’s ouster.
Rebel leaders say they do not believe that Gaddafi would adhere to a cease-fire, and they reject any plan that does not include his immediate resignation and departure from the country.
The rebels’ Transitional National Council — largely made up of doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, defectors and former exiles — is deeply skeptical about the neutrality of the African Union, which they see as packed with Gaddafi allies.
Opposition leaders were also disappointed because the peace plan fails to wring any concessions from Gaddafi at the outset, despite the brutal suppression of protests in February in which hundreds of people were shot and thousands were arrested.
Gaddafi accepted the plan — dubbed a “political road map” — after meeting with the delegation in Tripoli on Sunday. The plan calls for an immediate cease-fire — including, officials said, the suspension of NATO bombings of Gaddafi’s military equipment and troops; cooperation from the authorities to guarantee safe passage for humanitarian aid; the protection of foreign nationals, including African migrant workers; and the launching of a dialogue about reform between the government and the opposition.
That dialogue would take place during a transition period, “with the view to adopting and implementing the political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis, including democracy, political reform, justice, peace and security, as well as socio-economic development,” the African Union said in a statement.
But many political experts say democracy is fundamentally incompatible with a totalitarian regime based around Gaddafi’s personality cult. Compromise between the rebels and the government would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, they say.
Outside the towering Tibesty Hotel in Benghazi on Monday, a few hundred protesters chanted against the iron-fisted leader and rejected the “road map” while the rebel council and the A.U. delegation were meeting.
Before details of the plan were released, rebels said they would not sign on to any plan that fell short of the departure of Gaddafi and his sons.
And so, the war will continue. Although it appears increasingly likely that we’re heading towards a stalemate.