12 Apr 2011

AU peace plan rejected by Libyan rebels

6:45 am on 12 April 2011

Libyan rebels have rejected an African Union peace plan designed to end the civil war there.

They say it does not address their main demand, that Muammar Gaddafi step down as the country's leader.

Libyan National Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil told a news conference in Benghazi that the proposal is outdated.

He said it proposes reform of a ruling system that needs to be removed.

African Union mediators said on Sunday that the Libyan government had accepted the plan, which included a ceasefire.

But afterwards, a renewed bombardment by Gaddafi forces was reported in in the city of Misrata.

Any ceasefire needs to be verifiable - NATO

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says any ceasefire in Libya would need to be credible and verifiable.

But the rebels say there can be no deal unless Colonel Gaddafi leaves power.

Mr Rasmussen also said any solution would have to answer the demands of the Libyan people for political reforms. He said he looked forward to a meeting of an international group on Libya in Doha on Wednesday.

NATO said it will continue to target Libyan government forces for as long as they threaten civilians.

Western forces began carrying out air raids on Libya on 19 March to enforce a United Nations 'no-fly' zone and to protect civilians from attacks by government troops.