Libyan Rebels Make Gains in Brega


Libyan rebels made gains on Monday in a battle for a key oil town as international diplomatic efforts continued to end the fighting between government loyalists and opponents.

Foreign media reports said the rebels controlled access in and around the eastern town of Brega, where the rival forces have been in a standoff for days.

On the western front, troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi used tanks and snipers to keep the city of Misrata under siege.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is appealing to combatants to allow it access to Misrata, the country’s third largest city, where dozens of injuries and deaths are reported from fierce battles.

Meanwhile, a Libyan government envoy is in Europe for talks on bringing an end to the fighting.

Acting Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi is meeting with Turkish officials for talks on brokering a cease-fire with opposition forces.

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would not arm the rebels, but would provide them with needed telecommunications equipment. NATO has assumed command of the military operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya, which has helped the rebels through airstrikes.

Hague added that an international group coordinating a political response for Libya will gather in the Qatari capital, Doha, next week.

As part of the planned transition to NATO command, the U.S. military was pulling its warplanes from lead position missions Monday and taking a support role.

The New York Times reports that Gadhafi’s son, Seif el-Islam Gadhafi, has proposed a resolution to the conflict under which his father would relinquish power for a transition to constitutional democracy under the son’s direction.

The newspaper, citing a diplomat with close ties to the Libyan government, said neither the senior Gadhafi nor the rebels appear ready to accept Seif el-Islam Gadhafi’s proposal, which follows years of his public efforts to bring about such a change. VOA