Monday, April 11, 2011

Gaddafi accepts African Union plan for cease fire

 The AU-delegation in front of Gaddafi's tent in Bab Aziziya in Tripoli. Left to right the presidents Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali, Jacob Zuma of South-Africa, Denis Sasso Nguesso of Congo,  Gaddafi, Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, and Jean Ping, secretary-general of the AU.

A delegation of African leaders said Sunday that the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, accepted their 'road map' for a cease-fire with rebels. 'We have completed our mission with the brother leader, and the brother leader's delegation has accepted the road map as presented by us,' said South African President Jacob Zuma, who traveled to Tripoli with the prsidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, and Uganda's Foreign Minister Henry Oryem Okello.

Zuma said that the delegation of the African Union will meet with the 'other party' (the rebels) on Monday in Benghazi. He called on NATO to end airstrikes to "give the cease-fire a chance."
The AU deal's main points are:
  • An immediate ceasefire
  • The unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid
  • Protection of foreign nationals
  • A dialogue between the government and rebels on a political settlement
  • The suspension of Nato airstrikes
The talks in Tripoli were hedl against the background of new Nato-strikes. It said its planes destroyed 25 government tanks on Sunday alone, 11 near Ajdabiya, and 14 near Misrata. Consequently in Ajdabiya pro-Gaddafi forces have pushed back rebels in fierce fighting.
A Nato-spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, welkcomed the intiative, saying that the alliance had 'had always made it clear that there could be no purely military solution to this crisis'
Rebel spokesmen said there could be no truce unless Col Gaddafi stepped down and his forces withdrew.
Spokesman Mustafa Gheriani told Reuters the proposal would be considered, but 'the Libyan people have made it very clear that Gaddafi must step down'. Another spokesman, Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, told AFP that 'the soldiers must return to their barracks. The world has seen these offers of ceasefires before and within 15 minutes Gaddafi starts shooting again,' he said.
The British-based representative of the Libyan opposition leadership, Guma al-Gamaty, has told the BBC that any deal designed to keep Col Gaddafi or his sons in place would not be acceptable.
Ramtane Lamamra of Algeria, the head of the AU's Peace and Security Council, said in Tripoli that the demand to give up power was brought up in Sunday's talks with the Libyan leader. 'There was some discussion on this but I cannot report on this. It has to remain confidential. It's up to the Libyan people to chose their leaders democratically,' he told reporters.

Mr Zuma is now returning to South Africa. His foreign minister and the other AU heads of state are travelling on to Benghazi. But a problem with the AU-mediation is that the rebels don't consider the AU to be impartial. Gaddafi is a former head of the AU and that did not come out of the blue. The 'brother leader' lhas invested lots of  Libyan petrodollars in the AU to buy his popularity there. The BBC in february gave this account of how he bribed his way into the African ranks. Also the rebels haven't proably forgotten that the AU was not in favour of the intervention by outside forces.

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