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Libyan Rebels Seek Cease-Fire After U.S. Vows to Withdraw Jets
Thomas Penny and Patrick Donahue
April 2, 2011
Libya’s opposition called for a cease-fire after the U.S. said it’s withdrawing aircraft used to attack Muammar Qaddafi’s forces following adverse weather that prevented strikes allowing Libyan loyalists to push back rebels.
Libya’s rebels would accept a cease-fire if their demands for freedoms are met, said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the rebel National Transitional Council, during a news conference televised today from their stronghold of Benghazi. Any agreement would have to involve Qaddafi’s fighters withdrawing from cities and their surrounding areas, he said.
The rebel move comes one day after Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. jets, won’t be flying with NATO forces over Libya after April 2. Mullen said planes would be made available only if requested by NATO. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress the U.S. will “significantly ramp down our commitment” to Libya except for electronic warfare, aerial refueling and surveillance.
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