Libyan rebels reject African Union peace plan

BENGHAZI, Libya Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:01pm EDT

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan rebels rejected an African Union peace plan on Monday because it did not address their main demand that Muammar Gaddafi quit and because it proposed reforming a ruling system they want removed.

"The African Union initiative does not include the departure of Gaddafi and his sons from the Libyan political scene, therefore it is outdated," rebel council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil told a news conference in Benghazi.

Earlier on Monday, Muammar Gaddafi accepted the African initiative to put a stop to fighting in Libya, including a ceasefire.

Abdel Jalil said the acceptance of the initiative had come too late and that Gaddafi had not heeded earlier United Nations decisions demanding a ceasefire and the protection of civilians.

"Colonel Gaddafi in this long period of time has not paid attention to these decisions, has continued bombing, shelling and shooting civilians, has surrounded cities with his militia and has based security forces on city streets and upon the roofs of houses."

Abdel Jalil said he had raised the issue of Gaddafi's use of African mercenaries with the delegation: "We let it be known to the delegates that there exist mercenaries that came from African and Arab countries. And when I say Arab countries I mean specifically Algeria."

(Writing by Edmund Blair and Isabel Coles in Cairo, editing by Tim Pearce)

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