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Qaddafi, Rebels Rule Out Talks

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has ruled out talks "until Judgement Day" with rebels trying to end his 41-year-rule.

Qaddafi was speaking in an audio message played at a rally of thousands of supporters in his hometown of Sirte.

The rebels had much the same message.

"No one talks about a political solution. Impossible. He closed all the doors," said Colonel Ahmed Bani, a rebel military spokesman.

Despite both sides' stated unwillingness to enter talks, diplomatic efforts to end the crisis are intensifying.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told his visiting South African counterpart Jacob Zuma that Beijing backs an African Union (AU) proposal to end the Libyan crisis.

The AU proposal is seen as more accommodating to the Libyan leader than a Western plan that insists on him stepping down.

On the battlefront, rebels said their march toward the capital Tripoli is being slowed by the laying thousands of mines at the oil town of Brega, one of the last strongholds of Qaddafi's forces.

The front line near Brega has been deadlocked for weeks.