African Union calls for end to conflict in Libya
An African Union mediation panel on Libya has called for the "immediate end to all hostilities," and suggested a transition period for adopting political reform, dpa reported.
The panel, chaired by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, issued a statement from Nouakchott this morning ahead of an expected trip to Tripoli and Benghazi, the rebel stronghold.
It also called for the free passage of humanitarian aid and the urgent need to foster dialogue between the Libyan government and the rebel-run Transitional National Council.
Among the five African leaders who will reportedly travel to Libya today are the presidents of South Africa, Mali and the Republic of Congo. The group has previously spoken out against all forms of military intervention in Libya.
During a meeting in late March, the African Union proposed a transitional roadmap for peace, which focused on protection of civilians and an end to hostilities as well as the beginning of political dialogue between authorities and Tripoli and Libyan rebels.
Today's statement was issued a day after forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi stormed the western entrance to rebel-held Ajdabiya, west of Benghazi.