April 1st, 2011
07:45 PM ET

Libyan opposition lays out conditions for cease-fire

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Battles raged in Libya on Friday as mixed messages of peace put forth from several corners brought no guarantees of an end to the bloody conflict.

In the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libyan opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil laid out conditions for a cease-fire with Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

Among them were the removal of snipers, mercenaries and militias from western cities, an end to the sieges laid on cities such as Misrata and freedom of expression for the Libyan people.

But ultimately, he said, the opposition's goal remains regime change in Libya.

Jalil spoke at a podium with the United Nations special envoy to Libya, Abdelilah al-Khatib, who had carried the opposition's message to Tripoli the day before.

Al-Khatib reiterated that the U.N. objective is to achieve a cease-fire and end the loss of civilian lives but he did not mention regime change, highlighting the discrepancy between the stated objectives of the Libyan opposition and the international community.

Meanwhile in Tripoli, Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim told reporters that the rebels are not "really serious" about the offer of a cease-fire, which he said was tied to "silly conditions."

"They are asking us to withdraw from our own cities and open our cities to people, who are holding up arms, who are tribal, violent, no unified leadership, al Qaeda links, and no one knows who they are. If this is not mad, then I don't know what it is," he said. "We will not leave our cities. We will not stop protecting our civilians."

Ibrahim added that the Libyan government is ready for peace.

Sources close to Gadhafi told CNN that political solutions are still possible but that the Libyan leader would relinquish power only to others within his inner circle.

They said there is still time for dialogue but expressed doubts about who would represent the opposition.

Any transition, they said, would involve Gadhafi's second son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and for such a transition to take place there would first have to be an end to the fighting.

The sources added that there is an emerging consensus within the regime that the old guard must prepare to give way to a younger generation of leaders.

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