Madrid ‘receives letter’ from Tripoli

Madrid – Spain’s government said today that it had received a message from Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi seeking a ceasefire.

Spain said it was standing with other European governments, however, in seeking a set of conditions for such an agreement.

“We have received a message from the Libyan government seeking an accord for a possible ceasefire,” said a spokesperson for the office of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

“Spain has to say the same on this as the other European governments,” he added.

“Of course, we are all in favour of there being a ceasefire in Libya but for this there has to be a series of conditions, political circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

Further details about the content and format of the message were not available.

The news followed a report in British daily, The Independent, that the Libyan premier was sending international leaders a message proposing an immediate UN-monitored ceasefire in Libya.

According to a letter seen by the Independent, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafii’s regime was ready to enter unconditional talks with rebels, declare an amnesty for both sides and draft a new constitution.

Nato airstrikes intensified in Tripoli this week but US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron both warned yesterday that victory “did not seem likely” in the near future.

Both Obama and Cameron yesterday stated after talks in London that Gaddafi must leave the country.

In the message seen by The Independent, the Libyan prime minister reportedly departed from previous policy by not declaring that Gaddafi be a part of the country’s future.

The prime minister promised to appoint an executive committee to “foresee the ceasefire and propose a mechanism for a political dialogue”, according to the leaked letter.

“A process of reconciliation will be initiated which will include amnesty and compensation to all victims of the conflict,” he continued. “We are ready to talk to help mediate a ceasefire and to initiate discussions on the future form of constitutional government.

“Let us create a road-map to the future,” he urged.

“What has occurred in Libya is part of a wider series of events throughout the Arab world. We understand this. We are ready and we know what is required of us.”

Libya has been mired in a conflict pitting Gaddafi’s forces against opposition rebels since the eruption of massive anti-government protests in mid-February.

An international coalition intervened on March 19, launching air raids and missile strikes under a UN mandate aimed at protecting civilians from Gaddafi’s forces. Nato took command of the air campaign on March 31.

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