Rebels say Gaddafi will not be pursued if he quits

08:26, March 09, 2011      

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Rebels will not pursue Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi over crimes they say he has committed if he steps down from his post in the next 72 hours, the head of the rebel National Libyan Council told Al-Jazeera TV on Tuesday.

"If he leaves Libya, during 72 hours, and stops the bombardment, we as Libyans will step back from pursuing him for crimes," Abdel- Jalil Moustafa, head of the opposition National Council said.

He said the deadline would not be extended beyond 72 hours.

"We will have to wait and see what the regime's response is," he said.

Gaddafi was reported to have sent a representative to Benghazi on Sunday night to discuss a conditional plan to step down, Al- Jazeera learned.

The offer was provided on the condition that Gaddafi would be able to keep his assets and avoid prosecution.

However, Libyan state TV on Tuesday denied reports that the Libyan leader tried to strike a deal with opposition forces seeking his removal.

An official from the Libyan foreign ministry described the report as "absolute nonsense."

Tensions are running between the regime's troops and revolutionary forces.

Dozens have died in a dramatic escalation of the conflict gripping the North African country, as anti-government forces' saw their rapid advance to the capital Tripoli abruptly halted.

Inspired by streets-born protests which swept Tunisia and Egypt and forced their leaders to step down, thousands of Libyans have started a string of protests against Muammar Gaddafi, in power for 42 years.

Source: Xinhua
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