Libya: Gaddafi says ready for ceasefire, but not one-sided

"We were first to welcome ceasefire, but Crusader NATO attack has not stopped," Libyan leader says in live television address.

By REUTERS
April 30, 2011 04:15
2 minute read.
Muammar Gaddafi in a live broadcast on state tv

Muammar Gaddafi 520. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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TRIPOLI - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Saturday he was still prepared to enter a ceasefire but that this must involve all sides and not only his own forces who are fighting against rebels in the east.

"[Libya] is ready until now to enter a ceasefire ... but a ceasefire cannot be from one side," Gaddafi said in a live television address in the early hours of Saturday morning.
"We were the first to welcome a ceasefire and we were the first to accept a ceasefire ... but the Crusader NATO attack has not stopped," he said.

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Gaddafi said that no one would force him to leave his country. "I'm not leaving my country, no one can force me to leave my country and no one can tell me not to fight for my country."

Hours before Gaddafi's comments, the Libyan government said on Friday it had taken control of Misrata's port and warned rebels in the besieged city they faced further bloodshed unless they handed in their weapons in four days and received a pardon.

Libya was coordinating with the Tunisian government to prevent a disaster on the border, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told reporters. He blamed the rebels for border violations and pledged respect for Tunisia's sovereignty. Ibrahim also urged any foreign fighters to leave the country or we will "finish you off."

Earlier on Friday. forces loyal to Gaddafi crossed into Tunisia and fought a gun battle with Tunisian troops in a frontier town as Libya's conflict spilled beyond its borders.

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Pro-Gaddafi forces fired shells into the town of Dehiba, damaging buildings and injuring at least one resident, and a group of them drove into the town in a truck, local people and a Reuters photographer in the town said.

The Libyan government troops were pursuing anti-Gaddafi rebels from the restive Western Mountains region of Libya who fled into Tunisia in the past few days after Gaddafi forces overran the border post the rebels had earlier seized.

Tunisia's government late on Thursday issued a statement condemning incursions by Libyan forces after shells fired by Gaddafi loyalists fell into the desert near the border.

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"Given the gravity of what has happened... the Tunisian authorities have informed the Libyans of their extreme indignation and demand measures to put an immediate stop to these violations," a statement from the foreign ministry said.

Friday's clashes marked the first time that Libyan government ground forces had crossed the border and entered a Tunisian town.

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