'Gaddafi accepts peace plan to end Libya conflict'

African Union says Gaddafi to follow suggested road map; rebels reject peace plan, will agree only if Libyan leader leaves power.

Muammar Gaddafi 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Muammar Gaddafi 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
TRIPOLI - Muammar Gaddafi has accepted a road map for ending the conflict in Libya including an immediate ceasefire, the African Union said on Monday, but an opposition representative said it would only work if Gaddafi left power.
South African President Jacob Zuma, who met Gaddafi at the head of a delegation of African leaders, urged NATO to stop air strikes on government targets to "give ceasefire a chance."
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Earlier truce offers from Gaddafi have come to nothing and rebels, who took up arms across the east and in some towns in the west after he crushed protests in February, have said they will accept nothing less than an end to his 41 year-old rule.
Asked if the issue of Gaddafi stepping down was discussed at his talks with an African Union delegation in Tripoli, Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, told reporters: "There was some discussion."
However he added: "I cannot report on confidential discussions because first of all I was not part of them, and I think they have to remain confidential between the parties involved."
Officials from NATO, which stepped up attacks on Gaddafi's armor on Sunday to weaken a bitter siege of Misrata in the west and disrupt an advance his troops made in the east, were not immediately available for comment on Zuma's ceasefire appeal.
The British-based representative of the Libyan opposition leadership, Guma al-Gamaty, said it would look carefully at the AU plan, but would not accept any deal designed to keep Gaddafi or his sons in place, Britain's BBC reported.
Libyan officials have repeatedly said Gaddafi will not quit.
Asked if he feared rebels might reject the plan, Lamamra said: "We believe what we have proposed is broad enough to launch negotiations ... What we need is for them to accept that we are people of good will."
"It's not up to any outside force even the African Union itself to decide on the behalf of the Libyan people on who the leader of the country should be," Lamamra told a news conference in the early hours of Monday morning after the AU talks.
Zuma met Gaddafi for several hours at the Libyan leader's Bab al-Aziziyah compound with four other African heads of state.
"The brother leader delegation has accepted the road map as presented by us. We have to give ceasefire a chance," Zuma said, adding that the African delegation would now travel to the eastern city of Benghazi for talks with anti-Gaddafi rebels.
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