Mediators due in Benghazi as Gaddafi accepts peace plan

Mediators due in Benghazi as Gaddafi accepts peace plan

African Union (AU) mediators negotiating a peace in Libya are due in Benghazi Monday, where they plan to meet with rebel leaders a day after they got Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi to sign on to their plan, DPA reported.

However, the visit comes amid reports of continued fighting for key Libyan cities.

The five-member panel, chaired by Mauritanian President Mohamed.

Ould Abdel Aziz, met with Libyan ruler Moamer Gaddafi in Tripoli Sunday.

The African Union says the Libyan leader has accepted their plan.

But it is not clear how that message will be received by members of the opposition Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC), who have said they will settle for nothing less than Gaddafi stepping down from power.

"There is no other solution than the military solution, because this dictator's language is annihilation, and people who speak this language only understand this language," spokesman Ahmad Bani told broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Ramtane Lamamra, AU commissioner for peace and security, said in Tripoli Sunday that the plan agreed envisaged an immediate ceasefire, US broadcaster CNN reported.

Lamamra also said that under the deal, the Libyan authorities would help in the delivery of humanitarian aid, protect foreigners and hold talks with the opposition to set up "an inclusive transition period."

The deal would also reportedly allow outsiders to monitor its implementation.

The plan does not deal with the question of whether Gaddafi would remain as Libyan leader. The agreement also does not include a timeframe regarding the ceasefire or the transition.

"The brother leader's delegation have accepted the road map as presented by us," South African President Jacob Zuma, a member of the mission, told journalists in Tripoli Sunday. "We have to give ceasefire a chance," he said.

"The delegation ... will be proceeding tomorrow to meet the other party, to talk to everybody and present a political solution to the problem in Libya."

Zuma did not travel on to Benghazi with the delegation, but a South African government spokesmen disputed comments from some rebel groups that Zuma had left because he was unhappy with the Gaddafi meeting, noting that Zuma had another meeting to attend and had left high-level officials with the delegation.

"There is no reason for this pessimism, especially when you listen to the president's comments," the official told the German Press Agency dpa.

Residents of the eastern part of the country have voiced scepticism as to whether the AU mission can put an end to the conflict.

"What is there to negotiate?" said Ahmed Buseni, a rebel in Benghazi. "We will not accept a compromise," he said.

"The removal of Gaddafi from power is the only solution that the people here are willing to accept," said El Muraga, a presenter for the Benghazi-based Free Libya radio station.

On Sunday, NATO confirmed that it had destroyed more than 17 government tanks on Friday and Saturday, as the battle for the western city of Misurata raged on.

A Red Cross vessel arrived in Benghazi from Misurata, where it had been delivering vital medical supplies and food, on Sunday. A representative from the Red Cross said that 72 Misurata residents returned to Benghazi with the vessel, desperate to flee the heavy fighting.

A Qatari ship is due to arrive in Tobruk from Misurata on Monday afternoon. Hundreds of residents and migrant workers are reported to be on board.

Heavy fighting also continued on the western fringe of Ajdabiya, where rebel spokesman Mustafa Abdulrahman said at least eight rebels were killed on Sunday.

In Benghazi, Ajdabiya residents spoke out at a funeral for 12 rebel fighters who were killed on Saturday.

"We are losing our loved ones every day," said Ali Bleadh, who spoke to dpa after burying a friend killed in Ajdabiya.

"But we will not stop fighting. There is no scope for political discussion anymore," he said.

"I lost my best friend to the fighting in Ajdabiya," said Ahmed El Zuwayi, whose home was destroyed by government troops.

"When will this end? We need weapons, not discussion," he said.

"The situation in Ajdabiya, and Misratah in particular, is desperate for those Libyans who are being brutally shelled by the Regime," said Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO's Operation Unified Protector.

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