Zuma in Libya as pressure mounts on Kadhafi


South African President Jacob Zuma was heading for Tripoli on Monday for talks to end the Libyan crisis, as international pressure mounts for Moamer Kadhafi to step down.


The main objectives of his visit include an immediate ceasefire, enabling the delivery of aid, and to persuade Libya to adopt political reforms to eliminate the causes of the conflict, Zuma’s office said.

But it rejected reports that talks would focus on an exit strategy for Kadhafi, saying the visit is part of African Union (AU) efforts to end the conflict between his forces and the rebels fighting to oust him.

On the eve of his visit, Zuma’s ruling African National Congress condemned the Nato bombing of Libya.

“We join the continent and all peace loving people of the world in condemning the continuing aerial bombardments of Libya by Western forces”, the ANC said in a statement.

International pressure on Kadhafi to step down continues, with the G8 calling for his departure on Friday and Russia finally joining explicit calls for Kadhafi to go on Saturday.

But Tripoli responded by saying any initiative would have to go through the AU.

“We are an African country. Any initiative outside the AU framework will be rejected,” said Tripoli’s deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaaim.

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