Libyan Government Proposes Cease-Fire, Says It's Ready To Negotiate

Originally published on May 26, 2011 6:01 pm

The AP reports that the Libyan government is pushing for a cease-fire and that Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi told reporters in Tripoli that he was ready to talk to the rebels.

The AP adds:

"Libya is serious about a cease-fire. But that means a halt for all parties, in particular NATO," al-Mahmoudi said. "Any cease-fire needs its own special arrangements between technical and military people. Everything will be discussed once we have a cease-fire," al-Mahmoudi said.

The White House dismissed the proposal as not credible.

U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said such offers must be backed up by action. He said the Libyan government is not complying with the U.N. resolution that authorized the international military operation to protect the Libyan people from forces loyal to Gadhafi.

Al-Mahmoudi, however, said Gadhafi was not ready to step down. "The leader, Moammar Gadhafi, is in the heart of every Libyan. If he leaves, the entire Libyan people leave," he said.

The Guardian reported today that British intelligence told Prime Minister David Cameron that Gadhafi was "increasingly paranoid and on the run." The paper reports that the U.K. will deploy helicopters into Libya to "gun down Libyan regime leaders and assets hiding in built-up areas:"

British diplomatic sources explained: "There's clearly a link between the upping of the military pressure and what we assess is his state of mind. The more he thinks things are moving against him the better. There is a picture building up of this man who is very paranoid and a regime that's increasingly feeling under pressure and is beginning to fracture.

"The judgment we are making is that that means it is the right time to turn up the heat and try to make it tell.

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