Muammar al-Gaddafi Offers Cease Fire after U.N. OKs No-Fly Zone

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By Wesley Ernst, Christian Post Correspondent
March 18, 2011|10:08 pm

Muammar al-Gaddafi announced an immediate ceasefire Friday after the United Nations Security Council authorized a no-fly zone in Libya in an effort to quell the conflict between rebels and the government that has left hundreds if not thousands of people dead.

Sources associated with the rebels reported over a thousand people dead, while the regime maintains that only 150 armed rebels were killed.

It remains unclear whether news of the ceasefire has reached pro-government forces, as fighting has been reported in the cities of Misrata, Zintan and Ajdabiya.

Despite allegations that Gaddafi was stalling for time by declaring the ceasefire, Libyan foreign minister Khaled Kaim said in a worldwide televised broadcast that the regime has pledged "an immediate cease-fire and the stoppage of all military operations."

He also said that Libya has invited observers from China, Malta, Turkey and Germany "to make sure that there is a real cease-fire on the ground," according to CNN.

Britain and France has already promised to send aircraft, while Italy and Spain has offered use of its territory for operations.

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The U.S. has not publicly revealed its role in enforcing the Thursday-approved U.N. resolution. Nonetheless, the United States has participated in an emergency meeting with NATO allies.

After hearing of the U.N. resolution, pro-rebel sympathizers cheered while waving pre-regime Libyan flags in Benghazi, the center of rebel-held territory that had earlier faced imminent assault by advancing pro-Gaddafi forces. In recent weeks, the rebels have lost territory in battles with Gaddafi's better-equipped and trained army.

At the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama said that "left unchecked, we have reason to believe Gaddafi [will] commit atrocities against his own people" and destabilize the North African nation. He added that Libya's authoritarian regime should end all military operations, and restore basic necessities including water and electricity, as well as allowing aid relief into the country.

"These terms are not negotiable. The resolution will be enforced through military action," said Obama, later emphasizing that the U.S. will not send ground forces into Libya.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, said a U.N. no-fly zone "requires certain actions taken to protect the planes and the pilots, including bombing targets like the Libyan defense systems."

The U.N. resolution authorizing the no-fly zone was approved Thursday, with a vote of 10-0 with five abstentions that included Russia, China and Germany.

 

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