AU mediators en route to Libya: official

10th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

African Union mediators departed Mauritania for Libya on Sunday, where they will try to negotiate a ceasefire, Mauritanian and South African officials told AFP.

Presidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, left Nouakchott mid-morning and were travelling separately to Tripoli, then to Benghazi.

"They have just left, each in his own plane," the source said.

The delegation of mediators also include Uganda's Foreign Minister Henry Oryem Okello, representing Yoweri Museveni, the fifth head of state making up a panel chosen by the European Union to mediate in Libya.

Earlier on Sunday, the mediators reiterated their appeal for "an immediate end to all hostilities" and proposed a transition period to adopt reforms in the insurrection-hit country.

During their two-day stay, the leaders will meet representatives of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli, and those of the rebels in their stronghold, Benghazi in the east, Zuma's office said.

"The main objective of the panel is to put an end to the war and to find an adequate solution to the crisis," Abdel Aziz, the president of the panel, told journalists after a meeting of the leaders in Nouakchott that ended around 1:00 am (0100 GMT) on Sunday.

"We are in contact with the international community to achieve this objective in line with the roadmap of the African Union."

The panel earlier decided to go along with a roadmap adopted in March which calls for an end of hostilities, "speedy delivery of humanitarian aid" and "dialogue between the Libyan parties", it said in a statement.

The leaders said they intended to propose "inclusive management" of a transition period aimed at adoption and setting up of "the political reforms needed to eliminate the causes of the present crisis."

This should be done taking into account "the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy, political reform, justice, peace and security."

While diplomatic efforts were underway, loud explosions rocked the Libyan battleground town of Ajdabiya for a second day Sunday, as rebel fighters advanced cautiously after suffering a major reverse at the hands of loyalists.

© 2011 AFP

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