* Rebels dismiss Libyan ceasefire
* Reports of continued fighting
By Goran Tomasevic and Mohammed Abbas
BENGHAZI/TOBRUK, Libya, March 18 The Libyan
government's ceasefire declaration on Friday was met by sceptism
in the rebel-held east, where many dismissed it as a ruse and
some saw it as a sign Muammar Gaddafi had reached a dead-end.
In a hotel lobby in Tobruk, a dozen men watched television
in silence as Gaddafi's foreign minister began a news conference
in which he declared a halt to military operations which had
resulted in a U.N. resolution against Libya on Thursday.
"See how things change from night to day," said Ashraf
Afgair, an unemployed man. "They are just trying to calm
international opinion. It's a desperate attempt by Gaddafi to
cling to power," he said.
Idris Khamis, a meteorologist, said: "They have reached the
end of the line. That's why they are accepting the U.N.
decision. Otherwise it's the same fate for Gaddafi as Hitler and
In Benghazi, where the rebel movement is based, reports of
continuing fighting in Ajdabiyah to the south fuelled scepticism
of Gaddafi's intentions.
"It's just on TV. In fact he fights now in Ajdabiyah. He is
trying to get more time. He is crazy and will fight till he
dies," said Salah Hussein, 42, a travel agent.
Aisha Aftaita, a teacher, added: "Gaddafi is still firing
and shooting. He didn't stop. He is trying to take back
Ajdabiyah. There is still heavy fighting there. He is trying to
Libya said it would "deal positively" with the U.N.
resolution. In a news conference broadcast live by Arab
satellite channels, Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa also said the
Tripoli government would respect human rights -- a declaration
that triggered cynical laughter from the viewers in Tobruk.
"Can you believe what you are hearing," said one, waving his
hand dismissively at the television screen.
"They talk about human rights. Do you see human rights when
a country bombs its own people. He won't respect the U.N. It's
just TV propaganda," said Nasser Saeed.
Mohammed Farraj added: "Why did he not respect human rights
of the Libyan people from the start? We just want him to go.
(Writing by Tom Perry in Cairo; Editing by Giles Elgood)