AU urges Libya rebels to drop truce 'pre-conditions'

'For the sake of Libya's higher interests'

ADDIS ABABA - The African Union on Tuesday urged Libyan rebels to "cooperate fully" after they rejected a truce plan presented by the continental body.
"Due to a political demand set as a pre-condition by the Transitional National Council (TNC) to launching urgent talks on the implementation of a truce, it was not possible at this stage to reach an agreement on the key issue of a cessation of hostilities," said a statement on Monday's visit to Libya of an AU delegation that included heads of state.
The delegation "makes an urgent call on the TNC to fully cooperate, for the sake of Libya's higher interests, and assist in the quest for and implementation of a fair and lasting political solution," the statement said.
Libya's strongman Moamer Gathafi accepted the AU's truce plan but the rebels' leadership in the city of Benghazi argued the initiative was obsolete and insisted Gathafi should be ousted.
Meanwhile, France's NATO allies are not pulling their weight in Libya and their forces should do more to help destroy Gathafi's heavy weaponry, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday.
"NATO must fully play its role, and it is not doing so sufficiently," the minister told France Info radio, adding that France would bring the matter up with EU ministers on Tuesday and with NATO in Berlin on Thursday.
France which, with Britain and the United States, led the drive for air strikes against Gathafi's forces, was sceptical about handing political control of the operation to the NATO Western alliance.
Now, Juppe said, it feels that the full coalition is not taking a robust enough attitude in pushing forward with the bombardment of Libyan government forces besieging rebel-held cities.