Tripoli: Addressing a press conference for the first time after the Arab uprising, Moussa Koussa, the Foreign Minister of Libya said, "We are ready for this decision (a ceasefire) with the rebels, but we require an interlocutor to discuss how to implement it.”
The press conference took place shortly after the UN Security Council voted to permit "all necessary measures" including military to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire in Libya.
“It is very strange and unreasonable to use the military power against the public”, Moussa Koussa added, while addressing foreign journalists.
“We discussed last night with the UN envoy (for Libya, Jordan`s Abdul Ilah Khatib) and asked legitimate questions on the application of a ceasefire," Moussa Koussa said.
He also indicated that Libya would "react positively to the UN resolution, and will prove this willingness while guaranteeing protection to civilians."
The Foreign Minister also put an immediate freeze on all Libyan assets. He assured that none of the activities of the Libyan government would be in any way against national unity or independence. Finally, he urged NGOs and television news channels to broadcast Libyan news in the correct perspective to the rest of the world.
His announcement came as Gaddafi`s forces were
still reported to be 120 kms away from the rebel stronghold of
Benghazi and his men were locked in pitched battles with
rebels at the key town of Ajdaibya in the east and Zintan,
Nalut and Misurata in western Libya.
Al Jazeera said that Gaddafi`s forces had encircled
Ajdaibya, occupying its eastern, western and southern
outskirts and tanks and artillery were pounding Misurata. Some
of his forces had bypassed Ajdaibya, to head towards Benghazi.
But, Gaddafi`s air force as well as helicopter gunships
were not in action as the Arab channel said Libyan strongman
had paused his generals in an apparent bid to marshal his
forces to contend with expected Western air strikes.
Al Jazeera said rebel forces were not contactable
immediately to know whether the ceasefire had taken force on
the battle lines.
Gaddafi`s cave-in came as British Prime Minister David
Cameron and the French government spokesman said the allied
air strikes could come "rapidly... within a few hours".
Cameron announced in the House of Commons that Royal Air
Force will send its latest typhoon fighters along with the
older tornadoes "in the coming hours" to enforce a no-fly
He told lawmakers that Britain will join the UN authorised
operations to stop Gaddafi from launching "a brutal attack
using air, land and sea forces" on the people of Benghazi, BBC
After the UN Security Council approved the resolution, US
President Barack Obama telephoned the leaders of France and
UK, the White House said, in an apparent bid to give final
shape to the action blueprint.
CNN, quoting top Pentagon officials, reported that
Obama Administration has readied plans to enforce the no-fly
zone and allied warplanes could be over Libya by Sunday or
Other major EU nations including, UK, Denmark and Norway
have said that they were ready to send fighter units to ground
the Libyan airforce.
As the news of rapid deployment by the allies came in, Al
Jazeera said Muammar Gaddafi`s forces had launched an all out
attack to capture the city of Misurata.
The Arab channel said that Libyan Army artillery guns and
tanks were shelling the rebel bastion of Misurata, east of
Tripoli after a nightlong intense fighting with the rebels for
the control of the town.
Though the rebels claimed they were holding on to the
town, Al Jazeera quoted Libyan State Television as claiming
that Gaddafi loyalists had overrun Misurata which is 210
kilometre from the Libyan capital.
Prior to the enforcement of the no-fly zone, NATO has
launched a 24 hour air surveillance of Libya by Sentry AWACS.
US has also already positioned warships off the Libyan
coast and in UK British Forces were on standby for air strikes
and could be mobilised by Sunday.
A huge crowd had assembled in Benghazi to watch the
crucial UN vote on outdoor TV projection and burst into
celebrations once the approval of the no-fly zone was
ABC said that US was keen to involve Arab nations in the
enforcement of the no-fly zone and quoted officials as saying
that Jordan, Qatar and the UAE were among possible
France is also keen to play the Arab card and Oman and the
UAE as well as Canada, Norway have offered to send fighters.
China, Germany, Australia and Russia have said they will
not take part in imposing the no-fly zone.
Elaborating on what could be Western response to the
Libyan crisis, BBC said that to start with allied forces would
jam all Libyan communications and go in for hi-tech satellite
imagery of Gaddafi`s arms stockpiles.
With PTI inputs