TRIPOLI, May 30 (Xinhua) — 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.