Gaddafi talks with Zuma at an undisclosed location. It was the first time the tyrant leader has been seen by the world since May 11
South African President, Jacob Zuma, has made a breakthrough in talks with Muammar Gaddafi by getting the Libyan leader to agree to an AU-brokered ceasefire. The truce could pave the way for peace to return to the troubled North African country.
Libyan state television showed Gaddafi's first public appearance in nearly three weeks as he met with Zuma in Tripoli. Delegations from both sides sat in a large room and talked. After their meeting, Zuma said that Gaddafi accepted the AU roadmap aimed at bringing the conflict there to an end.
Zuma said, "Muammar Gaddafi confirmed that he's ready to implement the decision of the African Union. There must be a ceasefire, which is unconditional. That includes bombing by NATO coming to an end. A ceasefire must include everyone. Also, he made the point that Libyan people be given the chance to talk among themselves to solve their problems. Therefore, he's ready to implement the roadmap of the AU. Those were the highlights of our discussions."
South African president says Gaddafi ready to implement AU roadmap
Visiting South African President Jacob Zuma said on Monday that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is ready to carry out an African Union (AU) roadmap for solving the crisis in the North African country.
"I can say that the Libyan leader is ready to implement what is in the roadmap by the AU," Zuma said at a press conference shortly before leaving Libyan capital Tripoli.
Zuma, during his several hours' visit to Tripoli, held what he described as a "detailed and long" talk with the embattled Libyan leader, during which he informed Gaddafi "recent steps and measures taken by the AU," and iterated an AU call for dialogue between the Libyans.
The South African president, who arrived earlier in the day and was greeted by Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abul Ati al-Obeidi at the Tripoli airport, said he came to meet Gaddafi as a member of a high-level committee formed by the AU on the Libya crisis.
The Libyan government has accepted the Union's initiative and the African roadmap, Zuma said, adding Gaddafi assured him "the importance of the ceasefire proposed by the AU on condition that NATO and (others) stop bombing and give the Libyan people a chance to solve their problems by themselves."
The AU formed a special committee on Libya before France, Britain and the United States took the lead in launching airstrikes on Libya in March, hoping to solve the crisis by peaceful means.
The high-level committee proposed a five-point roadmap for peace, calling on conflicting parties in Libya to protect civilians, stop hostilities and provide humanitarian aids equally to both the Libyans and the immigrants, especially African ones. The committee also called for political dialogue to end the crisis, a transitional period and necessary political reforms to meet the demands of the Libyan people.
The African initiative received positive response from the Libyan government, but was rejected by the Benghazi-based rebels who said it doesn't address their major demand, namely, the departure of Gaddafi.