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LIBYA: Rebels reject Kadafi's call for talks as government forces advance on key oil town

March 7, 2011 |  4:37 am

Rebel leadership rejected talks with Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi's government  Monday, insisting that the longtime ruler agree to step down before any dialogue can take place.

The oppositional National Libyan Council released its statement after an appeal for talks on state television from Jadallah Azous Talhi, a government official originally from eastern Libya.

The council's Ahmed Jabreel told Reuters that the anti-government movement would not engage in talks with the government.

"We have made it clear all along that any negotiations must be on the basis that Kadafi will step down. There can be no other compromise," he said.

Meanwhile, Kadafi's forces appear determined to take the eastern town of Ras Lanuf, home to a major oil refinery, back from anti-government forces.

Libya fighter jets bombed rebel-held sites on the outskirts of the town  Monday, amid reports that government forces had taken the town of Bin Jawwad, about 40 miles away.

--Meris Lutz in Beirut