Gaddafi ready to accept ceasefire plan: Zuma

Tripoli, May 31: South African President Jacob Zuma held talks with Muammar Gaddafi Tuesday and said the Libyan leader was ready to accept an African Union plan for a ceasefire, CNN reported.

Zuma emerged from a meeting with the long-time Libyan leader, convinced that Gaddafi was ready for an end to hostilities, including air strikes and the fight with the Benghazi-based opposition.

The South African president, however, gave no indication that Gaddafi was prepared to step aside, the report said.

“Brother leader (Gaddafi) took the position today that he is ready to implement the decision of the AU that there must be a ceasefire,” Zuma told reporters at Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport.

“The view is that that must include – bombing by NATO must also come to an end,” he said.

Zuma added that Gaddafi said any ceasefire must apply to all parties, “but also, he makes the point that let the Libyan people be given a chance to talk among themselves. And therefore, he’s ready to implement the road map of the AU”.

Unlike other world leaders, Zuma has not called for Gaddafi to step down. Neither has the African Union, which Gaddafi once led. In fact, the AU has criticised the NATO air strikes, CNN said.

A government official said Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi also attended Monday’s meeting.

The African Union has helped mediate peace talks before, including ones in Kenya and Zimbabwe.