Libyan prime minister to propose ceasefire: report

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Moamer Kadhafi's prime minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi will send international leaders a message proposing an immediate UN-monitored ceasefire in Libya, Britain's Independent reported Thursday.

According to a letter seen by the newspaper, Kadhafi's regime is ready to enter into unconditional talks with rebels, declare an amnesty for both sides and draft a new constitution.

"The future Libya will be radically different to the one that existed three months ago," an extract published in the broadsheet said. "That was always the plan. Only now we may need to accelerate the process.

"But to do so, we must stop the fighting, start talking, agree on a new constitution and create a system of government that both reflects the reality of our society and conforms to the demands of contemporary governance," it added.

"The cycle of violence must be replaced by a cycle of reconciliation. Both sides need the incentive to move out of their corner and to engage in a process that will lead to consensus."

NATO airstrikes intensified in Tripoli this week but US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron both warned Wednesday that victory did not seem likely in the near future.

Previous ceasefires were immediately breached by Kadhafi, but the newspaper quotes a British government source who suggested that western powers may now accept a ceasefire without the precondition of Kadhafi going into exile.

However, both Obama and Cameron on Wednesday stated after talks in London that Kadhafi must leave the country.

In the message seen by the Independent, the Libyan prime minister departed from previous policy by not declaring that Kadhafi be a part of the country's future.

The prime minister promised to appoint an executive committee to "foresee the ceasefire and propose a mechanism for a political dialogue", according to the leaked letter.

"A process of reconciliation will be initiated which will include amnesty and compensation to all victims of the conflict," he continued. "We are ready to talk to help mediate a ceasefire and to initiate discussions on the future form of constitutional government.

"Let us create a road-map to the future," he urged. "What has occurred in Libya is part of a wider series of events throughout the Arab world. We understand this. We are ready and we know what is required of us."

Libya has been mired in a bloody conflict pitting Kadhafi's forces against opposition rebels since the eruption of massive anti-government protests in mid-February.

An international coalition intervened on March 19, launching air raids and missile strikes under a UN mandate aimed at protecting civilians from Kadhafi's forces. NATO took command of the air campaign on March 31.

© 2011 AFP

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