Opposition: Gadhafi working on deal to step down


Rebellion in LibyaMoammar Gadhafi is trying to strike a deal with opposition leaders, saying he will step down as Libya’s leader if they can guarantee him safe passage out of the country and promise that neither he nor his family will face prosecution, an official with the opposition said Tuesday.

The development could not be immediately confirmed with members of Gadhafi’s government.

The opposition has submitted counter-offers with several demands. Among them is a stipulation that Gadhafi has to immediately concede he is not the ruler of Libya, said Amal Bugaigis, a member of the opposition group called the February 17 Coalition.

The development comes as Libya enters its fourth week of bloody clashes Tuesday and there was little doubt that the situation had turned into all-out civil war.

Rebels have seized several cities from government control and the army has fiercely fought to reclaim some of them.

Death toll estimates have ranged from more than 1,000 to as many as 2,000. Thousands more have fled the country, prompting a human rights group to once again urge both sides to allow humanitarian aid in.

"Both the Libyan government and opposition forces need to allow unhindered access for aid organizations to assist civilians," Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. "People living in areas of heavy fighting in western Libya are now in dire need of medical aid and other assistance."

Late Monday night, the Gulf Cooperation Council said Libya had rejected its offer of humanitarian aid. The council is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Gadhafi took aim at the rebel-controlled town of Ras Lanuf, launching aerial strikes Monday to crush the uprising against him.

Gadhafi’s aerial forces targeted the main road heading into the oil town after launching another air strike earlier, five kilometers (3.1 miles) southeast of the city. The opposition fired anti-aircraft guns in response.

The protests against Gadhafi began February 15 as anti-government demonstrators sought the ouster of the 68-year-old Gadhafi who has ruled for nearly 42 years of rule.

It started as the kind of revolution that swept neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, but since then the uprising has turned into warfare.

And as reports continue to emerge of the government’s use of force against civilians, the international community has been left pondering strategies on how to end the violence.

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