Gaddafi says yes to AU roadmap for ceasefire

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Muammar Gaddafi
Tripoli, Apr 11: Muammar Gaddafi agreed to a "road map" proposed by African leaders to end hostilities with the Libyan rebels, as NATO air raids attacked his military's positions and helped the opposition push back his forces advancing on the opposition strongholds in the east.

While the terms of the ''road map'' were not clear, the rebels said there was no question of a truce that leaves the Libyan strongman in power.

Jacob Zuma, the South African president who is part of the delegation of African Union leaders in Libya, said they had discussed with Gaddafi the issue of stopping of air attacks by NATO to "give ceasefire a chance".

"We have completed our mission with the brother leader, and the brother leader's delegation has accepted the road map as presented by us," Zuma said.

Gaddafi made his first appearance in front of the foreign media in weeks when he joined the AU delegation at his Bab al-Aziziyah compound, Al Jazeera said.

The delegation said in a statement that it had decided to go along with a road map adopted in March, which calls for an end to hostilities, "diligent conveying of humanitarian aid" and "dialogue between the Libyan parties".

It was not clear whether the ceasefire blueprint spells Gaddafi's departure from power as the rebels have been demanding, though the key points of the AU ''roadmap'' include a clause for political reforms which "meet the aspirations of the Libyan people", according to the pan-Arab channel.

Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, said the issue of Gaddafi's departure had come up in the talks yesterday but declined to give details.

"There was some discussion on this but I cannot report on this. It has to remain confidential," he said.

"It's up to the Libyan people to chose their leaders democratically," he was quoted as saying.

The announcement was made after the meeting in Tripoli yesterday, hours ahead of which NATO air raids on Gaddafi forces' tanks in the east helped the rebels push back their rapid advance towards Benghazi.

Among other key points in the ''roadmap'' are protection of civilians, provision of humanitarian aid for Libyans, a dialogue and an inclusive transitional period.

Ahmad Bani, a rebel spokesman, rejected a negotiated outcome to the conflict.

"There is no other solution than the military solution, because this dictator's language is annihilation, and people who speak this language only understand this language," he told Al Jazeera.

The African delegation is set to meet the rebels in Benghazi as the situation in the country appears to be deadlocked both militarily and politically and the there is no word on actually how the roadmap is going to be implemented, if at all it is accepted by the rebels. 

PTI

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