News / Africa

World Powers Mull Moves After Libya Declares Cease-Fire

Libyan rebels pray in the desert in front a weapon on the frontline near Sultan, south of Benghazi, March 18, 2011
Libyan rebels pray in the desert in front a weapon on the frontline near Sultan, south of Benghazi, March 18, 2011

Libya has declared an immediate cease-fire and says it is ready to open channels of dialogue with the rebel opposition. The government announced the action on Friday, a day after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution that would allow it to impose a no-fly zone over the country.

World powers will consider Libyan's cease-fire announcement in an emergency summit in Paris on Saturday.

Representatives of the U.N., Arab League and European Union are among those who have announced plans to attend. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the 27-nation bloc will be examining the details of the Libyan cease-fire.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Friday that the U.S. would be impressed by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi actions and not his words. She says the U.S. wants to see pro-Gadhafi forces move a "significant" distance away from rebel positions in eastern Libya.

Libya's moves came as NATO envoys in Brussels discussed ways to enforce the U.N. Security Council resolution. Reuters news quotes NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen as saying the alliance is completing plans so that it can take the "appropriate action" on Libya.

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa said his country is obliged to accept the Security Council resolution as a U.N. member. The resolution passed late Thursday authorizes "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya.

The Libyan minister urged foreign powers to "check the facts on the ground" by sending fact-finding missions. He added that Gadhafi's government wanted to open a dialogue with all parties interested in Libya's territorial unity.

Before the announcement, pro-Gadhafi forces bombarded the western rebel-held town of Misrata on Friday. Witnesses say at least four people were killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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