A youth waves an American flag at a rally after Friday prayers in Benghazi, Libya.
Libyan rebel fighters say they will agree to a cease-fire in their battle against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces if the government pulls its military away from opposition-held cities and allows peaceful protests against the regime.—JCL
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the opposition’s interim governing council based in Benghazi, spoke during a joint press conference on Friday with Abdelilah Al-Khatib, the UN envoy. Al-Khatib is visiting the rebels’ de facto stronghold of Benghazi in hopes of reaching a political solution to the crisis embroiling the North African nation.
Abdul-Jalil said the rebels’ condition for a ceasefire is “that the 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”.
The UN resolution that authorised international air strikes against Libya called for Gaddafi and the rebels to end hostilities. Gaddafi announced a ceasefire immediately but has shown no sign of heeding it. His forces continue to attack rebels in the east, where the opposition is strongest, and have besieged the only major rebel-held city in the west, Misrata.
Abdul-Jalil said the regime must withdraw its forces and lift all sieges. He stressed the ultimate goal was still to oust Gaddafi.