“We are convinced that what we have proposed is broad enough to be a base for the launch of peace talks”, said Ramtane Lamamra of Algeria, the head of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council, yesterday to reporters in Tripoli in response to whether the plan of the body presented to Colonel Muammar Gheddafi for a solution to the conflict will be accepted also by the rebels in Bengasi.
The details of the plan were not disclosed, but the condition set for the opening of talks is however a cease-fire that must be respected by both sides, said South African President Jacob Zuma, who at the head of a delegation of four Heads of State went to Tripoli to meet with Gheddafi, who for the second day straight has appeared before the media.
Zuma’s delegation includes Mauritian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguessou and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
“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 Zuma, calling on NATO to end airstrikes to “give the cease-fire a chance”.
NATO has in fact stepped up air strikes to halt the advance of Gheddafi’s loyalist forces that had forced rebel forces to retreat.
At least 25 of Gheddafi’s tanks were destroyed yesterday in Ajdabiya and Misrata.
The most violent battle continues to be fought in Misrata, where the death toll remains uncertain and the population is on its knees after six weeks of fighting.