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S. African Leader: Gadhafi Accepts Cease-Fire Plan

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi (R) speaks with presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa (L) and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo outside a tent erected at his Bab al-Aziziya residence in Tripoli on April 10, 2011.
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi (R) speaks with presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa (L) and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo outside a tent erected at his Bab al-Aziziya residence in Tripoli on April 10, 2011.

South African President Jacob Zuma, leading a delegation of African leaders to the Libyan capital, says leader Moammar Gadhafi has accepted their roadmap for a cease-fire with anti-government rebels.

African Union officials say the proposal calls for an immediate cease-fire, talks between the rebels and the government, the protection of foreign nationals in Libya and the extension of humanitarian assistance to civilians.

Mr. Zuma said the AU delegation would travel to the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi Monday to present the plan to opposition leaders. The rebels have said they will accept nothing less than an end to Mr. Gadhafi's rule, while Libyan officials say he will not step down.

The South African leader also called on NATO to stop airstrikes on government targets to "give a cease-fire a chance."  He and three other African heads of state met with Mr. Gadhafi for several hours Sunday at his compound in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, NATO airstrikes have pushed loyalist forces out of the strategic eastern city of Ajdabiya, reportedly allowing rebels to reestablish control there.

NATO says its airstrikes Sunday destroyed 11 government tanks near Ajdabiya and 14 near the western rebel-held city of Misrata. Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard says the strikes were needed because pro-Gadhafi forces were brutally shelling Libyans.

Libyan rebel spokesman Colonel Hamid Hassy told The Associated Press  that heavy shelling from government forces near Ajdabiya largely stopped after the NATO airstrikes.

Medics and reporters say the fighting at Ajdabiya has killed at least 12 people during the past few days.  

Mr. Zuma was joined by the presidents of Mauritania, Mali and Congo on his mediation mission as well as a representative from Uganda.

Earlier, The Associated Press  reported that pro-Gadhafi forces shot down two rebel helicopters in Brega, an oil town west of Ajdabiya.

Brega has been the scene of intense fighting in recent days with it going from government to rebel control and back again several times since the start of an uprising against Mr. Gadhafi.

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