UK's Hague: Libyan ceasefire must meet UN conditions

As heavy fighting underway in Misrata, Hague, Italian FM both say Gaddafi must leave power; NATO says will continue to target gov't forces.

By REUTERS
April 11, 2011 17:55
2 minute read.
A rebel fires his anti-aircraft gun near Benghazi.

Libya rebels benghazi_311 reuters. (photo credit: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters)

 
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LONDON - Any proposed ceasefire in Libya must meet the conditions set out by the United Nations, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday at a press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

"There should be no ceasefire that does not meet the conditions of UN security council resolutions 1970 and 1973 in full, and it is not acceptable for those representing the opposition in Libya, including the Interim National Council," he said.

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"Anything short of this would be a betrayal of the people of Libya and would play into the hands of the regime which has announced two meaningless ceasefires since the fighting began without its vicious military campaign missing a single beat," Hague said.

Hague and Frattini both said that Gadaffi must leave power.

"The (Libyan) ceasefire includes not as a legal pre-condition but a political element that Gaddafi should leave," Frattini said.

Heavy fighting was underway between forces loyal to Gaddafi and rebels in two districts of the city of Misrata, a resident told Reuters on Monday.

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"Heavy and fierce fighting is now taking place at the eastern entrance to the city and in the center ... on Tripoli Street," the resident, called Abdelsalam, told Reuters by telephone.

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Earlier Monday, NATO said it noted an African Union proposal for a ceasefire in Libya but had yet to receive a formal request and would continue to target Gaddafi's forces as long as they threaten civilians.

South African President Jacob Zuma has urged NATO to stop air strikes on government targets to give a ceasefire "a chance", after Gaddafi accepted an African Union road map for ending the conflict in Libya including an immediate ceasefire.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had "taken note" of the African Union ceasefire proposal but told a Brussels news briefing: "We have not received any formal request as regards the implementation of any ceasefire."

Rasmussen said Gaddafi's government had announced ceasefires in the past, but "they did not keep their promises" and any ceasefire would require an effective monitoring mechanism.

"Any ceasefire must be credible and verifiable," he said. "There must be a complete end to violence and a complete end to all attacks and abuses of civilians," he said.

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